Unlike their counterparts in Central America, some MS-13 cliques in the United States now allow female members, said Michael Prado, assistant special agent in charge of the Washington office of Homeland Security Investigations, a branch of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“In that regard they are somewhat progressive,” he said. “The [cliques] here are a little bit more, for lack of a better term, Americanized.”

In response, ICE has begun instructing its agents to scrutinize girls and young women as closely as males for MS-13 involvement, Prado said.

“There are female MS-13 members engaged in some extremely heinous and violent activity,” he added.