One of the world’s most violent gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha, based in the West, has been spreading internationally, now with over 100K members.
The Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, is known to be a cruel and passionately violent gang that exists mainly in the West. They currently exist in 42 US states, in Central American countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Canada, Spaid and, some say Australia. They have a special heavy presence in Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Washington DC, New York, New Jersey and Houston, Texas.
They’re known for barbaric fighting, contract killing, drug trafficking, gang range and people smuggling. They also have the desire to be known as “number one for most murders.”
Gang members have extensive and symbolic tattoos on their faces and torso. However, it is reported that newer members are now distorting their tattoos in order to avoid being easily spotted by police. They also reportedly use hand signals, including the devil’s horn symbol.
The gang is reputed to have around 100,000 gang members, recruiting people as young as eight years old. They reportedly punish disloyalty by murder or extreme maiming, such as cutting off hands.
The gang had reportedly gained respect from drug cartels, due to their extreme cruelty. This got them recruited by Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, “one of the world’s most powerful organized crime groups.” They originated in El Salvador, whose capital- San Salvador- was known to be the world’s “murder capital.” The gang reportedly then spread into Los Angeles in the 1980s and has been spreading into the inner city, the suburbs and the rest of the West ever since.
In 1999, Brenda Paz, a 13-year-old Honduran refugee had ran away from home, ending up in Virginia. In 2002, she and her boyfriend were arrested for car theft. Her boyfriend, Denis Rivera, was a 17-year-old high-ranking MS-13 member. In exchange for protection, Paz agreed to become an informant on the gang.
She described life inside the Salvatrucha to lead “you to three places … jail, the hospital or the cemetery.
She also said the membership was “for life, you don’t rat us out.” Paz had unfortunately found life in the isolation of the witness protection program too difficult, and eventually went back to the gang.
On July 17, 2003, her body was found by a fisherman on the vanks of the Shenandoah River in Virginia. She had been stabbed 16 times, while 17 weeks pregnant.