MS-13 Gang Member Arrested Traveling With Migrant Caravan From Central America to U.S.

Police in Yuma, Arizona, apprehended a member of the gang MS-13 who crossed the U.S. border illegally on Monday night, according to reports.

The gang member, an 18-year-old named Herberth Geovani Argueta-Chavez, had crossed into the United States with a group of 60 other migrants believed to be part of the migrant caravan that President Donald Trump has focused on over the last several weeks. The young gang member had pretended to be an unaccompanied minor, but police later ascertained that he is an adult who was affiliated with the infamous cross-border criminal group.

Both the caravan and the gang have caught the attention of the president, who has railed against Central American migrants during speeches and on social media. During an event ostensibly about tax reform on April 5, Trump complained about "the caravan of thousands of people coming up from Honduras," and suggested that women in the caravan were being raped.

In fact, migrants began traveling in large groups from Central America to the U.S. several years ago in order to avoid violence and robbery during the journey. Most of the migrants are escaping gang violence in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Traveling in a group is also meant to call attention to the precarious position many Central American migrants find themselves in. This year's group was one of the largest, numbering at around 2,000 people. Many of the migrants traveling in the caravan have been stopped by Mexico along the way.

Of the 60 migrants apprehended in Arizona on Monday, 90 percent were families and a third were less than 18 years of age, according to reports. Only one gang member was found among the group.

The infamous MS-13 gang was originally formed in Los Angeles during the 1980s. The gang has since spread across Central America, where its members terrorize local populations and to the East Coast of the U.S. In 2012, the U.S. Treasury designated the gang a "transnational criminal organization."

The Trump administration has made clamping down on the gang one of its top priorities. During a speech on Long Island last year, the president addressed an increase in crime from MS-13. Likewise, in January, Trump dedicated a segment of his State of the Union speech to the gang, noting that the group "caused the loss of many innocent lives."