A mara (or marabunta) is a form of gang originating in the United States, which spread to Central American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Maras activities range from arms trafficking, assault, auto theft, burglaries, drug trafficking, extortion, human trafficking, identity fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, illegal immigration, kidnapping, money laundering, people smuggling, prostitution, racketeering, robbery and vandalism. Almost all maras display tattoos on their bodies as a sign of their affiliation to their gang. "La vida por las maras" or "the life for the gang" is a very commonly used phrase by these gangs.
The best known maras are Mara Salvatrucha and their rivals Calle 18. Maras were hunted by death squads including Sombra Negra.