NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Dubbing them the “next gen” of MS-13, U.S. Attorney Don Cochran says their recent indictment of seven gang members may have made a dent in this latest phase of the gang, but they are still actively recruiting to beef up their numbers.
A federal grand jury in Nashville indicted seven members of the MS-13 on Wednesday.
“They’re trying to replenish their membership. They’re trying to bring more people into town,” Cochran told News4 Investigates.
Earlier this month, seven members of the gang were indicted on federal charges ranging from distributing cocaine to firearm-related offenses.
Once a powerful gang in the mid 2000s in Nashville, MS-13 was targeted with a series of high profile prosecutions for murder and other violence.
Cochran said the gang went quiet until 2014, when he said they began to distribute drugs through South Nashville nightclubs, intimidating other gang members and even torturing one DJ for asking them to tone down their criminal activity.
Cochran said in several cases, MS-13 would open fired in the parking lots of clubs.
“Why would you tell people they needed to be worried about this gang?” asked News4 Investigates.
“It’s indiscriminate – when guns are fired in a parking lot – the bullet doesn’t have a name on it. It can go any number of places,” Cochran said.
Taking their marching orders largely from El Salvador, Cochran said they have charged members with everything from kidnapping a student from Glencliff High School to upcoming charges related to burned out bodies found in cars in Cheatham County.
“This is next gen MS-13,” Cochran said.