By SUA Staff – From Guatemala to Washington DC, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the violent drug gang, a killing machine, has now gained a foothold beyond Mexico. It has grown into a full-blown transportation network, that includes narcotics, recruiting, weapons, prison indoctrination, death, rape and extortion.
Shipped back to the Central American countries of their birth from the streets and prisons of southern California in the 1990s, the tattooed and scarred members of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang quickly grew into a powerful and deadly force throughout the region.
Now, Guatemalan authorities say, they have begun to see new and disturbing evidence of an alliance between the Maras and another of the most feared criminal organizations in Latin America — a deal with the potential to further undermine that U.S.-backed effort to fight violent crime and narcotics trafficking in the region. Read the rest here.
The FBI established a task force dedicated to gang networks yet, the growth and partnerships continue to fester within our borders and further south into Latin America. However, the missions of MS-13 and Las Zetas are now beyond the capabilities of the task forces in the United States, Mexico, and Latin America.
This gives rise to the rapid expansion of trained killers, most of whom, were Mexican military defectors.
There is no denying their footprint firmly ensconced within America at this point and the threat to the safety of citizens and law enforcement is beyond description. Read the FBI description here:
Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, continues to expand its influence in the United States. FBI investigations reveal that it is present in almost every state and continues to grow its membership, now targeting younger recruits more than ever before.
To counteract this growth, the FBI formed the MS-13 National Gang Task Force in December 2004. Based at FBI Headquarters, this intelligence-driven task force combines the expertise, resources, and jurisdiction of federal agencies that investigate this violent international street gang. It focuses on maximizing the flow of information and intelligence, coordinating investigations nationally and internationally, and helping state and local law enforcement improve operations and prosecutions targeting MS-13. The task force can be reached by calling (202) 324-5340.
More from the FBI:
MS-13 operates in at least 42 states and the District of Columbia and has about 6,000-10,000 members nationwide. Currently, the threat is highest in the western and northeastern parts of the country, which coincides with elevated Salvadoran immigrant populations in those areas. In the southeast and central regions, the current threat is moderate to low, but recently, we’ve seen an influx of MS-13 members into the southeast, causing an increase in violent crimes there.
MS-13 members engage in a wide range of criminal activity, including drug distribution, murder, rape, prostitution, robbery, home invasions, immigration offenses, kidnapping, carjackings/auto thefts, and vandalism. Most of these crimes, you’ll notice, have one thing in common—they are exceedingly violent. And while most of the violence is directed toward other MS-13 members or rival street gangs, innocent citizens often get caught in the crossfire.
MS-13 is expanding its membership at a “moderate” rate through recruitment and migration. Some MS-13 members move to get jobs or to be near family members—currently, the southeast and the northeast are seeing the largest increases in membership. MS-13 often recruits new members by glorifying the gang lifestyle (often on the Internet, complete with pictures and videos) and by absorbing smaller gangs.
Speaking of employment, MS-13 members typically work for legitimate businesses by presenting false documentation. They primarily pick employers that don’t scrutinize employment documents, especially in the construction, restaurant, delivery service, and landscaping industries.