High ranking MS-13 member arrested in Tennessee for racketeering, narcotics conspiracy

An MS-13 gang member in Tennessee has been arrested and indicted as part of a racketeering conspiracy and narcotics distribution conspiracy. PHOTO: FBI via MGN Online

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--An MS-13 gang member in Tennessee has been arrested and indicted as part of a racketeering conspiracy and narcotics distribution conspiracy.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), reports Jaime Santana, also known as "Smiley," was arrested Tuesday night. Considered a high ranking member of the gang, ICE states he and three others are accused of utilizing violence and intimidation to further their criminal enterprise.

ALSO SEE: MS-13 member arrested in Nashville had been deported in 2018, returned in July

Santana and the other suspects are alleged leaders of the L.A. Program of MS-13. Each "program" is governed by a group of leaders known as the "table," Santana among them. The men are accused of distributing drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, and obtaining firearms in addition to the other charges.

Santana is also charged with possessing a firearm while unlawfully or illegally in the United states. ICE notes the Nashville Field Office was involved in the arrest of Santana. FOX 17 News has reached out for further details on his arrest.

The announcement comes a month after another alleged MS-13 member was arrested for kidnapping a Nashville high school student and beating him because the boy refused to jaoin the gang. In that case, Franklin Pineda-Caceres was found to have also entered the country illegally after being deported in 2018.

ALSO SEE: Nashville MS-13 arrest follows data showing surge of gang apprehensions by CBP

Otherwise known as Mara Salvatrucha, MS-13 was designated as a transnational criminal organization by the Department of Treasury in 2012. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) notes the gang is known for "aggressively recruiting the youngest and most vulnerable community members into the gang."

According to numbers released by CBP for the current fiscal year running from October 2018-August 31, 2019, apprehensions of MS-13 gang members is on the rise. Of the 933 apprehensions by CBP of persons with gang affiliations, nearly half (445) were members of MS-13. The totals reflect an increase of 32 arrests compared to FY 2018.

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