Sessions Appoints Rosenstein to Lead Task Force Against MS-13, Hezbollah


President Donald Trump has made fighting TCOs a priority, ordering the federal law enforcement "to identify, interdict, disrupt, and dismantle" them. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will head up the task force.

The New York Times reported last month that Mr. Rosenstein had discussed secretly taping Mr. Trump and sought to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment.

Trump talked to Rosenstein about the allegation on October 8 and told media he had no intention to fire the No. 2 Justice Department (DOJ) official.

For example, the MS-13 subcommittee will be led by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham of the U.S. Eastern District of NY, where hundreds of MS-13 members have been arrested as part of the FBI's Long Island Task Force. The gang is based in El Salvador and not only are its members coming into the United States illegally, but it also recruits among the Central American youth streaming across the border in especially high numbers in recent years.

The Department of Justice has formed a task force to combat transnational criminal organizations, including MS-13 and Lebanese Hezbollah, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday.

The subcommittee on Hezbollah will be led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ilan Graff.

The Lebanese Hezbollah was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in 1997.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ran an operation called Project Cassandra against Hezbollah starting in 2008. The operation discovered that the terrorist group was raking in an estimated $1 billion a year from weapons trafficking, money laundering, drugs, and other crime.

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Graff oversaw the prosecution of two alleged members of Hezbollah's External Security Organization, "the first such operatives to be charged with terrorism offenses in the United States", Sessions noted.

"Today, to increase our effectiveness, I am putting in place new leadership to drive our transnational organized crime efforts and forming a Transnational Organized Crime Task Force of experienced prosecutors that will coordinate and optimize the Department's efforts to take each of these groups off of our streets for good", Sessions said.

Graff works at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY.

The task force is staffed with members of the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team, which Sessions created earlier this year.

"Reynolds has led or co-led several investigations into the Cartel that have led to indictments of some of its highest ranking members", the press release stated.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Emery of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida is in charge of the subcommittee on Clan del Golfo.

"Sutton prosecuted several Sinaloa kingpins and led multiple global investigations targeting Sinaloa Cartel leaders, resulting in seizures of millions of dollars in drug proceeds and thousands of kilograms of illicit drugs", the press release stated.

"Taking on transnational criminal groups like the cartels is a priority for this president and for his administration", Mr. Sessions said.