Midwest Gangs

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Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)

This gang began as a result of people fleeing El Salvador as a result of a civil war. Refugees fled to the United States and some had connections to La Mara, a street gang in El Salvador. Some of the immigrants had once belonged to groups such as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front and were trained as guerilla fighters. These Salvadoran guerrillas were known as "Salvatruchas." Here in the United States, as a result of prejudice of Hispanic gangs, they formed the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang. They quickly achieved recognition for their violence and sophistication.

The gang, commonly referred to as MS-13, enforces an extensive hierarchy. Each local gang is divided into "cliques," which are further divided into smaller groups. Members range from 12-year-olds to adults. MS now includes members from many Latin countries. Common identifiers include the intials "MS-13," "M," "MS" or "Salvadorian Pride. Members often make the hand sign of the letter "M."

The gang is active in Central America, the United States, Mexico and Canada. Since its inception in California and Washington, DC, Mara Salvatrucha members continues to plague many American cities. Many MS members continue to have close connections with El Salvador.

Mara Salvatrucha gang members are known to be involved in all aspects of criminal activity. Because of their ties to their former homeland, they have access to sophisticated military weapons thus making firearms trafficking one of their main criminal enterprises. Other law enforcement agencies have reported MS members were exporting stolen cars to Central America. As with nearly all street gangs, the MS is also involved in drug sales, murder and other common gang crimes. (Knowgangs.com)

States: Mainly in California area, but can be found elsewhere
prisons: 50% of Prisons in the U.S

Gangs of the Midwest.