The Department of Justice released a statement declaring “Five members of the transnational street gang La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, have received sentences of life imprisonment for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of two adolescent boys in 2016.”
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the 5 MS-13 gang members targeted a 17-year-old resident of Falls Church, “who they erroneously suspected was a member of the rival 18th Street gang.”
On August 28, 2016, the gang lured the victim to Holmes Run Stream Valley Park in Fairfax County under the pretense that there was going to be a gang meeting there. Instead, the MS-13 gang members restrained, attacked, and killed the victim, stabbing and chopping him more than 100 times with knives, a machete, and a pickaxe.
They then broke his legs so that his body would fit into the pre-dug hole that was nearby. Court records and evidence presented at trial also established that the same individuals also targeted a 14-year-old resident of Alexandria.
Reportedly, the gang members “erroneously suspected” the 14-year-old was a police informant. On the evening of September 26, 2016, nearly a month after the killing of the 17-year-old, the gang used their same tactic and told the minor to attend a gang meeting later that night at the same park.
“Not long thereafter,” the DOJ statement continues, the 14-year-old went “outside in his pajamas, telling his mother he was just taking out the trash.” Eventually, several gang members picked up the child and took him to the same park and killed him in the same fashion.
They also filmed the murder with a cell phone so that they could prove to gang leaders in the United States and in El Salvador that they deserved to be promoted in rank.
The statement concludes:
“Brutality is the hallmark of MS-13. The defendants kidnapped and murdered two innocent teenagers, shattering their dreams and stoking fear in the communities we live and work in,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division. “This joint investigation demonstrates the FBI and our law enforcement partners’ refusal to tolerate violent gang members who terrorize our neighborhoods and ruthlessly murder rival gang members and innocent civilians.”
“This is a profoundly disturbing case involving gang members taking the lives of young members of our community. We are proud to work with our Federal partners on cases like this to keep Fairfax County and surrounding communities safe,” said Kevin Davis, Fairfax County Chief of Police.
To date, a total of 17 defendants have been charged in this case, five of whom went to trial and were convicted of all charges. Nine defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial. See the table below for additional information on the defendants who were convicted at trial.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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