Skip to comments.Mara Salvatrucha Street Gang (Al Queda's Friends)
Posted on 10/31/2004 5:05:59 AM PST by newzjunkey
A SOUTH AMERICAN IMPORT
Street gangs form for a variety of reasons. The United States has experienced the growth of many types of street and prison gangs within the last 20 years. During this time period, influxes of legal and illegal refugees into the United States have had a documented effect on the formation of new street gangs.
In the early 1980s, a violent civil war began in El Salvador which would last more than 12 years. Approximately 100,000 people were killed in the war, and more than one million people fled from El Salvador to the U.S. The Salvadorian refugees and immigrants initially settled primarily in southern California and Washington, D.C.. Some of the refugees and immigrants had ties with La Mara, a violent street gang from El Salvador. Others had been members of paramilitary groups like the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMNL) during the civil war. FMNL was made up of Salvadorian peasants who were trained as guerilla fighters. Many were adept at using explosives, firearms, and booby traps.
Most of the Salvadorian refugees settled in the established Hispanic neighborhoods of the "Rampart" area of Los Angeles. However, Salvadorians were not readily accepted into the Los Angeles Hispanic community, and were frequently targeted by local Hispanic gangs. As a result, in the late 1980s, some refugees and refugee members of La Mara and FMNL formed what is now known as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) street gang in Los Angeles. Like many other street gangs, MS initially formed for protection, but quickly developed a reputation for being organized and extremely violent. MS membership continues to be fed by refugees from groups like FMNL.
Since its inception in California and Washington, DC, Mara Salvatrucha has expanded into Oregon, Alaska, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Canada, and Mexico. MS is unique in that, unlike traditional U.S. street gangs, it maintains active ties with MS members and factions in El Salvador. Mara Salvatrucha is truly an international gang.
Mara Salvatrucha gang members maintain contact between groups in the United States and El Salvador for several specific reasons. In El Salvador, a hand grenade sells for $1.00-$2.00 U.S. currency and an M-16 rifle will sell for approximately $200.00-$220.00 U.S. dollars. This communication and alliance provides a mechanism for MS gang members to access military-style munitions and also establishes a network to traffic illegal firearms into the United States.
Although military weapons seem to be readily available to this gang, street intelligence indicates they often have difficulty obtaining handguns, which are not readily available in El Salvador. This creates a demand for small arms by MS members in the U.S. and El Salvador. This demand is so high that MS members will often take handguns as payment for drug transactions. The guns are then sent back to El Salvador, or used in the United States.
MS is also involved in exporting stolen U.S. cars to South America. The cars are often traded for drugs when dealing with cartels. It is estimated that 80% of the cars driven in El Salvador were stolen in the United States. Car theft is a lucrative business for MS.
The Mara Salvatrucha gang is involved in a variety of criminal enterprises. As with members of other gangs, MS members seem willing to commit almost any crime, but MS gang members tend to have a higher level of criminal involvement than other gang members. MS members have been involved in burglaries, auto thefts, narcotic sales, home invasion robberies, weapons smuggling, car jacking, extortion, murder, rape, witness intimidation, illegal firearm sales, car theft and aggravated assaults. In terms of drug trafficking activities, common drugs sold by MS members include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine. Mara Salvatrucha gang members have even placed a tax on prostitutes and non-gang member drug dealers who are working in MS "turf." Failure to pay up will most likely result in violence.
Originally, only Salvadorians could become members of Mara Salvatrucha. However, MS now includes members from Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Mara Salvatrucha also has a few African-American members. MS has broken the race barrier for membership, but most new members are still selected because of their ethnic (Central American) background. The majority of MS gang members are between the ages of 11 and 40 years old.
Mara Salvatrucha members identify themselves with tattoos such as the number 13," or trece in Spanish. MS gang members will also use the Spanish word sureno, meaning "southerner" to identify themselves. Sometimes sureno is abbreviated to SUR. These terms make reference to the fact that MS gang members like to claim they are from southern California as opposed to northern California, and are rivals with northern California gangs. Often, this rivalry is taken outside the state of California. Additionally, Mara Salvatrucha gang members have several ongoing rivalries with large southern California gangs, including the 18th Street gang, and in California, commonly attack 18th Street gang members on sight. There are many Hispanic gangs, including MS, which use the number 13," and the terms sureno and SUR as identifiers, including street/prison gangs outside of California. Thus, it is important to identify specific tattoos used by the Mara Salvatrucha gang, which include M or MS, in addition to the 13 or SUR identification. Another common tattoo seen is Salvadorian Pride. There is also a good chance that the member will also have the name of his particular clique tattooed on his/her body. Other tattoos encountered with MS members have included pentagrams and other occult symbols. These can be confusing when found in conjunction with gang tattoos and can cause misconceptions of Satanic involvement by the gang. The most common hand sign used by MS members is the letter M formed by using three fingers and pointing the hand downward. This handsign can resemble the pitchfork sign used by Folk/People Nation gangs from the Midwest, and can be made with the fingers pointing up or down. The symbols used as tattoos are also used in graffiti and personal writings.
In general, Mara Salvatrucha members show no fear of law enforcement. They are not easily intimidated and frequently act defiantly. Mara Salvaltrucha gang members have been responsible for the execution of three federal agents and numerous shootings of law enforcement officers across the country. MS gang members have been known to booby-trap their drug stash houses using antipersonnel grenades on the assumption that these structures will be searched by law enforcement. MS members at one time often bragged of assaulting law enforcement officers as a means of showing their loyalty and commitment to the gang. However, these claims have never been confirmed. Today, assaults on law enforcement officers are not required for membership, but are always an option. Thus, officers dealing with MS members (or any street gang members, for that matter) should always use extreme caution.
Law enforcement and the courts have used two primary methods to deal with criminal activity by MS: arrest/incarceration and deportation. Between April 1994 and August 1995, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) arrested and deported more than 100 MS gang members to El Salvador. Many Mara Salvatrucha gang members are currently in the United States illegally and are concerned about deportation. If a gang member is deported to El Salvador, there is a chance they will be targeted by the Sombra Negra (Black Shadow) death squad. Sombra Negra and similar groups are legendary in Central America. Gangsters and citizens alike believe that the Sombra Negra is made up of rogue cops and military personnel who target unwanted criminals and gang members for vigilante "justice." While the presence of these death squads is officially denied by the governments of Central American countries, many MS members in the U.S. believe these groups exist, and fear that they will be targeted after being deported. Honduran MS gang members have the same fear. Sombra Negra has claimed responsibility for the deaths of several MS gang members in El Salvador. The existence or belief in the existence of these death squads could also be a chief motivation for hardcore MS gang members to come to the United States.
Al Valdez is currently employed as a District Attorney Investigator for Orange County, California. Valdez has a total of 21 years of experience with a special emphasis on narcotic and gang investigations and prosecutions. Currently, he is assigned to the North County T.A.R.G.E.T. (Tri-Agency Resource Gang Enforcement Team) Gang Unit for Orange County.
Copyright © 2000 Al Valdez. All Rights Reserved.
Adnan Shukrigumah, a 28-yr-old Saudi-born Guyanese man (raised in South Florida) is trained commercial pilot and is known to possess bomb-making skills. He has been linked with the Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) street gang which is the topic of this article.
Since the gang has no fear of law enforcement and operates in many states, although primary in Southern California, I thought we should know more about them.
In addition, Shukrigumah was spotted in Sonora, Mexico back in August. There were several newspaper articles, you can Google for them.
Five El Salvadoran males recently bought the house two doors down from mine (Alexandria, VA). There are as many as 7 or 8 vehicles parked at that house at any given time. They seem to prefer Japanese cars with custom paint-job and the ridiculous looking air-foil on the back. They blast their Salsa music from their car stereos whenever they come and go. One of the men recently purchased a car alarm that sets off whenever a car drives by it too close. I suspect drug dealing is going on from the amount of people that come and go from the house but I have no solid evidence.
Meet the new bolsheviks, same as the old bolsheviks.
Stalin I believe called the common criminals "Social Allies."
There is no gang problem in MD.
There is no gang problem in DC.
There is no gang problem in northern VA.
And our law enforcement leadership sees no need to check the immigration status of their customers.
The FYI was for you guys, too; for some reason the multi ping didn't work.
in sixties speak.
marking for later reading.
Thanks for posting this. Fascinating and frightening.
Good report, thanks for sharing.
Call the police every week. Watch for any gang signs and report any no matter how small. Go down and personally talk to the police and make sure they don't come to your house after a call. Get your neighbors together. This kind of thing snowballs.
That is the plan, then the perps can pick up America for pennies on the dollar.
Ude the Patriot Act and the RICO Act against the. If it was good enough for the Mob and the Hell's Angels, it's good enough for them.
I found it interesting that out of all these comments everyone failed to mention the fact that El Salvador is not in South America, it's in Central America. Also, while the gang has spread all over Central America, the U.S. and Canada, it has not spread onto South America because Salvadoran refugees are not migrating there.
FMLN were the Soviet sponsored communist guerillas in El Salvador ... What in the HELL are they doing here?
Cheap labor for the supposed "conservatives" of the chamber of commerce.
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