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A court in El Salvador on Thursday held a virtual sentencing  hearing for 492 leaders of the feared Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, accused of thousands of crimes, including more than 500 homicides.

The MS-13 leaders are “linked to 37,402 crimes, committed between 2012 and 2022,” the attorney general’s office wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“More than 500 homicides, disappearances, extortion, arms trafficking, and human trafficking are being attributed to this group,” said Max Munoz, the deputy director of the anti-crime prosecutor’s office, in a video.

The gang leaders are also accused of “rebellion to the detriment of El Salvador’s democratic system” for seeking to control part of the country’s territory, and of “collecting taxes, exercising their own justice and having an armed group to achieve these ends,” the prosecutor added.

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