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Lisa Ling Briefs O'Reilly on the World's Most Dangerous Gang

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 10, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, one of the reasons securing the border is so important is that thousands of criminals have infiltrated into the USA from Mexico.

For example, authorities estimate up to 10,000 members of the violent Salvadoran gang, MS-13, are living in the 33 states, causing death and destruction on a large scale.

With us now, Lisa Ling, who has investigated the situation for "National Geographic Explorer." That program will be seen this coming Sunday at 8:00 Eastern Time.

You know, the stats of violent criminals in California, very high among illegals. And I understand, because there are a lot of these MS-13 on Long Island where I live. A lot of them are illegals. Is that what's going on?

LISA LING, HOST OF "EXPLORER" NAT'L GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL: A lot of them are illegal. And they are being deported after getting caught and sent back to their home countries.

The problem is they're being sent to countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua, Honduras. They begin gang banging in those countries. Those countries didn't have gang banging or MS-13 before deportation started.

What's happening there, though, is they — it's become so vicious, they're even more lawless than it is here in the United States. And a lot of them are coming back to the United States and settling in the heartland.

O'REILLY: So, they get deported, and then they come back?

LING: That's right.

O'REILLY: And that's how easy it is, you come in, you come out.

Now, I spent some time in El Salvador in the war down there in the early '80s, and that was the most vicious war you can imagine. So, there is a vicious strain in that society for whatever reasons, poverty, whatever. But these MS-13 guys are particularly nasty, are they not?

LING: They are. They're incredibly pervasive, and the biggest problem is they're preying on young boys. I met boys who were initiated when they were 8 years old. They'd gone out on missions to fire on their enemies when they were 9 years old, little children.

O'REILLY: This is in El Salvador?

LING: No, this is in Los Angeles.

O'REILLY: This is in Las Angeles. Are they all Salvadorans?

LING: Most of them are Salvadorans, but over the last few years they've been enveloping other ethnicities into the gang, because it's so strong, it's so powerful.

O'REILLY: So by 8 years old they're trying to recruit these little kids...

LING: They are.

O'REILLY: ... to do minor tasks and a little violence and this and that?

LING: Well, the gangster we profiled — we call him Jester in the show — he was initiated when he was 8 years old and sent out to shoot the enemy at 9. He walked into enemy territory...

O'REILLY: Who's the enemy?

LING: The enemy is the gang that controls the neighborhood next to you.

O'REILLY: OK. So, anybody that's in a criminal enterprise that they want a part of.

LING: That's right. That's right. And if it were just gang on gang violence it would be one thing, but the problem is this gang is spreading into the heartland to such an extent that they're preying on people who live in the community. So if you're a woman who has an ice cream stand, you will get passed and...

O'REILLY: It's harder for them to operate outside of an urban, suburban — because they're obvious, you know. You see them. They speak a different language. They're covered with tattoos. They look like they're criminals.

So, if you're in a place like Omaha, the cops are going to know right away where they are, and they're going to be on them, you would think.

LING: I was in a prison in El Salvador meeting gangsters who were gangbanging in Omaha, Nebraska, in Madison, Wisconsin, in Portland, Oregon. It's shocking. It's shocking.

This country is experiencing a wave of immigration throughout the United States. And a lot of these parents are bringing these young boys, and they're exposed to these gangs that are very firmly rooted in these communities, and they become surrogate families.

O'REILLY: Yes, it sounds like they're coming after us right now. Never a dull moment here in New York City.

LING: Not for you.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, these people, drug trafficking is their big money maker. Right?

LING: That's right.

O'REILLY: What is it, cocaine?

LING: They can get you dope, crack, coke, meth, any kind of drug you could possibly want.

O'REILLY: All right. So they just operate across the border in narcotics and...

LING: There are allegations of human trafficking. And...

O'REILLY: Sex. Well, that goes along with it. And no violence is too appalling. They'll do anything. Carve you up, throw your body anywhere, kill women, children, right?

LING: And they have been even in the United States. It's particularly bad in Central America, but it's — it is considered to be one of the most violent gangs.

O'REILLY: It's an intimidation thing like the Colombians.

LING: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: I mean, not only kill you but they kill your family, you know, if they come up against them.

LING: That's right. And there's just no regard for law. I mean, people do call it the new mafia. The problem is that the violence they are perpetrating is so much more severe than what the mafia ever...

O'REILLY: Right. We only have 30 seconds. Feds on this? I mean, are they doing a good job in neutralizing these people?

LING: And unprecedented task force specifically to target this gang: FBI, ATF, homeland security, INS.

O'REILLY: Right. Good. All right. Get them. Lisa, always a pleasure.

LING: Thank you for having me.

O'REILLY: Watch the show. Tune in Sunday night at 8. Thank you very much.

LING: Thank you.

O'REILLY: On the National Geographic channel

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