President Donald Trump praised two local police officers for helping to dismantle the gang MS-13 during his speech at a conference last Friday.
Trump lauded Fairfax County Police Department Detective Ray Betts, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger and Sgt. Claudio Saa from the Herndon Police Department as “three trailblazing leaders.”
The praise came during remarks Trump made at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Mo. last Friday (Dec. 7).
The conference brings together U.S. Attorneys; federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement; community partners; and others to share ideas on violent crime reduction.
Trump’s remarks included the following:
Every American citizen is entitled to a safe community and a secure border. Here in the audience today are three trailblazing leaders — they truly are — who are working to dismantle MS-13 over the past two years. They’ve helped so much. They’ve done such an incredible job. Twenty-nine MS-13 members have been charged and convicted just recently, despite being targeted for retaliation.
These three patriots are U.S. Attorney Zach Terwilliger — where is Zach? Hello, Zach. Heard great things about you. Herndon Police Sergeant Claudio Saa. Thank you, Claudio. Thank you very much. And Fairfax County Police Detective Ray Betts. Thank you. Thank you. All three, thank you very much.
At the conference, Terwilliger, Betts and Saa joined Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Miller and Rebeca Bellows, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew and Major Roger Russell of the Richmond Police Department in a team presentation on best practices for investigating and dismantling MS-13.
MS-13 started in Los Angeles before heading to Virginia and then making its way to El Salvador.
Betts accounted for more than 100 felony arrests and 30 misdemeanors in a one-year time period two years after he joined the gang investigations unit. He has been to El Salvador to investigate cases and train his Salvadoran counterparts, WTOP reported.
Saa has also traveled to El Salvador, where he explored MS-13’s ties to Virginia, NBC4 reported.
Photo via FCPD/Twitter