Talk:MS-13/ Incorporating M18

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this page should be deleted m18 is just another name for 18th street gang its the same gang just a differant name due to the fact gangs in central america are called maras

This article is going to bring the M18 into the MS article ready for publication. I can't edit it in one fell swoop so I will do it at this page, watching for any changes in original article. --SqueakBox 01:25, Apr 1, 2005 (UTC)

You shouldnt merge the two articles together because they are completely different gangs, enemies, and m18 came out of 18th street gang it wasnt founded by salvadorans. Its like merging the crips article and the bloods article together. Guanaco152003 11:49, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Mara Salvatrucha are the MS-13 and the M18 are 2 criminal gangs from El Salvador that currently also have a strong presence in Honduras, Mexico, and the United States of America and a weaker one in Guatemala. They are deadly rivals, and initiation rites to enter one or other gang often involve killing an enemy from the other gang.


The Maras emerged out of 1960's El Salvadoran gangs, and then spread to the Los Angeles in the 1980's through refugees from the country's violent civil war, and from illegal Salvadoran immigrants in the United States of America. It may have spread to Honduras from Hondurans in the US. Salvadoran youths were not readily accepted by other Hispanics, and particularly Mexicans in the area and were often attacked by these countries owned gangs.

The Salvadoreans formed MS-13 and M18 as a means of protecting themselves from other street gangs. They become deadly rivals, and like any gang of serious criminals became involved in committing crimes such as drug, human, and weapons trafficking, ambushing, arson, assault, assassinations, attempted murder, bank fraud, bank robberies, beheading, body part dismembering and severing, bombings, burglary, cargo theft, carjacking, car theft, cheque forgery and fraud, contract killing, copyright infringement, conspiracy, counterfeiting, credit card fraud and theft, drive-by shootings, extortion, fencing stolen property, home invasion, identity document forgery, identity fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, illegal immigration, interstate and foreign transport of stolen property, larceny, kidnapping, manslaughter, mail fraud, money laundering, murder, organized retail crime, people smuggling, prostitution, protection racket, racketeering, rape, receipt of stolen property, robberies, sending threatening communications through in interstate commerce, theft, torture, trafficking in stolen goods and cars, truck hijacking, vandalism, wire fraud, witness intimidation, and witness tampering.

Geographical presence[edit]

The age of an MS-13 or M18 member can range from as young as 11 to as old as 50. While mainly found in Central America and in Los Angeles they can now be found in 42 US states including the rest of California, Washington DC, Oregon, Alaska, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and Rhode Island. MS-13 and M18 have also been active in Canada and Mexico. Many of the initial MS-13 and MS-18 members were former guerrilla fighters from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) paramilitary group. Members of the FMLN group were trained in firearms, explosives and booby traps. There is no centralization or hierarchy among the gangs from different regions, although a 2004 report by the National Drug Intelligence Center of the US says that chapters of MS-13 and M18 in different areas may be trying to set up coordination networks.

When it first began in the U.S., MS-13 and M18 only allowed Salvadorans as members but today the gangs now includes members from as far afield as Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Ecuador,. MS-13 and M18 have some blacks as members, particularly in the US and in the north of Honduras. Members are strongly encouraged to get tattoos on their body that express their alligence to MS-13. Those who join are expected to remain members for life, and anyone who leaves the gang is killed. Recently, a teenage female in Long Island, New York, who was an MS-13 member but left the gang so she could return to high school and go to college, first received death threats and then was gunned down by her former friends in MS-13 for leaving the gang. Her parents were making plans to move her out of the state so that she could be beyond MS-13's reach and have a clean start, but they were too late. It is not uncommon for ex-members to leave the state after they quit MS-13. Many ex-members who leave MS-13 leave the state that they lived in to get a fresh start and to avoid death at the hands of MS-13 members.

The origin of the names[edit]

The name mara comes from the Spanish word Marabundi, which is a type of ant. In Salvadoran slang the word had also come to mean posse. Salvatrucha was a Salvadoran word for a hard young man. The origins of "13" and "18" are not certain, though the letter "M" is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, and is a frequently used letter in names for Southern California Latino gangs, and used to distinguish them from the Northern California gangs, which use the number "14". The number "13" is also used symbolically in the gang's rites of passage. The MS have a reputation to do their killings on the 13th and the M18 on the 18th of any month. EDIT: The 18 is because their gang is called 18th Street. There was a Sureno Mexican gang by the name Clanton 14. Some members wanted to create a clique on 18th Street and allow other ethnicities besides Mexicans in the gang. Clanton denied the request and the members broke off. Now there's Clanton 14 and 18th Street who are still rivals in Los Angeles. The gang is also called Barrio 18, and Mara 18. Surenos add 13 because M is the 13th letter in the alphabet. M is for Mexican Mafia. Every Sureno gang puts 13 in their name to pay respect. MS13 is MS13. MS13 and M18 both spread to central America because members got deported. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:27, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

Gang markings[edit]

MS-13 and M18 members have tattoos on most of their upper body, including the arms and face, with lettering done in Gothic style. The MS and 13, or M18 is always tattooed on them. Other tatoo marks include the letters "SUR" for sureño or "southerner", and pentagrams. Typical attire of members is blue and white pro sport jerseys, often with the number "13", (blue and white are national colors of both El Salvador and Honduras, bandanas, Nike sneakers. A moustache and partial beard below the mouth but with the cheeks shaven, and very short hair or completely bald, are also sometimes used as distinguishing features by the gangs.

Suspected ties with Al-Qaida[edit]

Law enforcement throughout the USA has begun to crackdown hard on MS-13 after it was rumored that members of the international Islamist terrorist group Al Qaida (القاعدة) has been in secret talks with members of MS-13 in Honduras and in Washington DC. Authorities do not know what the talks were about but the possibility of al-Qaida and MS-13 forming even a loose alliance is enough for law enforcement to come down on MS-13 with a "pull-no-punches" attitude.

Sworn enemies[edit]

One group sworn to eradicate MS is the Sombra Negra ("Black Shadow") death squad. Sombra Negra is a vigilante group made up of police and soliders in El Salvador that is not controlled by the government. Sombra Negra hunts down and executes all types of criminals, but its specialty is hunting down MS-13 members and executing them. Sombra Negra is said to match the MS-13 and possibly even surpass it in terms of violence and brutality. It is said that MS-13 is deadly afraid of Sombra Negra to the point that there have been several documented incidents where MS-13 members have poured acid on tattoos indentifying them as MS-13 members and then using a cheese grater to scrape off the skin that the tattoo is on. Many MS-13 members in the U.S. are there illegally and are afraid of being deported back to El Salvador where they believe they will face certain death at the hands of Sombra Negra upon their return. It is believed by law enforcement and gang experts that Sombra Negra may be the cause of many of MS-13's most hardcore members leaving El Salvador and coming to the U.S. where law enforcement does not use death squads to hunt down and execute criminals on the streets like they do in El Salvador.

Ernesto Miranda, a.k.a. Smokey, who is a co-founder of the MS in Los Angeles left the gang and is helping children to stay out of gangs. [1]

In Feb 2005, the United States government announced a crackdown on MS-13. 103 individuals were arrested in seven cities.

External links[edit]