The death-cult gangs of Central America

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The death-cult gangs of Central America

Postby starroute » Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:02 pm

<!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article1603656.ece">news.independent.co.uk/wo...603656.ece</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Sitting handcuffed in a sweltering police station in El Salvador's capital, San Salvador, a 22-year-old man waits as a police officer searches for the keys to a damp, grubby cell where he will spend the night. "Man, I'm innocent, I've done nothing," he says, shrugging with a smile as he leans against a filthy blue wall. "They've just arrested me because of my tattoos. Anyway, I don't care. Tomorrow I'll be back out there with the other homeboys."<br><br>Approach him and you will understand what Ismael means by "my tattoos": his body - from forehead to ankles - is etched with names, acronyms, numbers, signs and creepy symbols, as if it had been painted by an alchemist or a freemason. Spanish and English slang words mingle on his legs. Skulls and monstrous figures cover his arms. If you were Salvadorean, you would not even need to ask him what he was; you could just read him. His nose, cheeks, temples and chin bear the indelible stamp of one of Central America's fiercest and deadliest gangs: the Mara Salvatrucha.<br><br>This young thug has spent most of his life as a Mara Salvatrucha member. Recruited at 10, he remembers clearly the two ordeals he suffered as part of his initiation. First, a group of gang members beat him for 13 seconds. He said he had up to 30 blows to his face and body. Then he was forced to participate in an execution of an enemy gang member, who was beheaded in front of him. "I had nightmares about that guy for about a month," Ismael says, laughing hysterically. "He would haunt me at night carrying his head in his own hands. I guess it's normal. I was just a little kid. After a while you get used to it, and it's almost like a game. It's fun. You find yourself teasing someone who is dying in front of you. Until you become addicted to killing." . . .<br><br>Oddly, although today the maras virtually control large portions of Central America's informal and shadow economy, their roots lie in the US, where they were formed four decades ago, among Latino communities. At the end of the 1950s, as Mexican immigrants began cramming into the suburbs of San Diego and Los Angeles, local groups were formed among the youth to defend their areas from the rising Afro-American and Asian gangs.<br><br>In the 1960s, some of these groups merged, giving birth to the Mara 18, named after 18th street in Los Angeles, where they roamed. While initially composed almost exclusively of Mexicans, with the years, and the influx of immigrants from other Latin American countries, the M-18 dropped its nationalistic raison d'être and recruited manpower from other nationalities, thereby growing bigger.<br><br>In the 1980s, as civil war raged in El Salvador between an oligarchic, right-wing government and the FMLN leftist guerrillas, thousands of Salvadorean families sought refuge in the US. Again, the youngsters grouped to defend their poor neighbourhoods, forming the Mara Salvatrucha, a mixed name where Salva stands for their nationality and trucho is a slang word meaning "alert". The new mara adopted the number 13 as the gang's logo, a reference to the districts of southern California, whose origin no one seems to recall. Bloody confrontations ensued between the two gangs. By 1992, when a peace deal was finally agreed between the warring factions in El Salvador, the Latino gangs had spread all over America.<br><br>The US, which had played a key role in the civil war, funnelling millions of dollars in aid to the Salvadorean government to prevent what they saw as a Communist threat, now started repatriating thousands of illegal immigrants, many with criminal records, back to their countries of origin. Many of them found themselves in places shattered by years of warfare, countries which they had left when they were children, and they had no family support, no social services, no job opportunities, and did not properly know the language. It did not take long for them to re-form their maras in the poorest barrios and shantytowns, where thousands of children had been left orphaned, homeless and hopeless. A weakened state and a newly trained police force could do little to stop them. The gangs quickly took over the underworld, enriching themselves and imposing their rule. . . .<br><br>What the two gangs do have in common is the belief that life and death are somehow intermingled. This belief partly explains the bones and devils tattooed on their bodies, as well as their satanic rituals, such as hacking a victim to death and scattering the organs on the ground in a pentagonal shape. . . .<br><br>Drug-smuggling is among the maras' most profitable activities. As their power began to grow, the drug cartels in Medellin, Cali and Tijuana realised that the thousands of mara urban warriors could be of considerable use. They recruited them as hit-men and drug-runners who would smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, on its way to the US. This meant even more cash flowing to mara upper echelons, and even more power. Today, classified reports from the Salvadorean National Public Security Council reveal that, given their strategic geographical location between the Americas, the Central American gangs are planning to create a third force to compete with the Colombians and the Mexicans for the multibillion-dollar prize that is drug trafficking. Still more deaths are expected. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: The death-cult gangs of Central America

Postby postrchild » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:08 am

MS13 has been in the news alot in the past yr with all the action in Nuevo Laredo. These guys are creepy. I have seen some MSM expose's that detail the attrocities that these guys commit on a regular basis. Not someone I would want to meet in the middle of broad daylight much less a dark alley.... <p></p><i></i>
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Postby f.n.disinfo.agent » Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:39 am

MS-13 is set up to be one of the worst nightmares America has ever had. And I'm not exaggerating here. These guys were borne of the unbelievably violent civil war that raged in El Salvador in the 70's and 80's (it actually almost came to a resolution in the early to mid 80's, but that paragon of conservative virtue, Reagon, decided that another 50,000 lives was worth not having a leftist goverment in El Salvador). Refugees came to the U.S. to escape the civil war, only to land right smack in the middle of the crack wars of L.A. The refugees banded together to protect themselves from the warring gangs who preyed on the powerless immigrants. I think their main enemy at the time was the 18th Street gang. The refugees had grown up with rival bands of right-wing military death sqauds and left-wing guerilla...well...death squads. Lets just say that if you made it to your seventh birthday without seeing a dead body you were a late bloomer. Two guys, Caeser and Miranda (or something) founded MS-13.

Anyway, they quickly got a reputation for violence and the LAPD cracked down on them. After being imprisoned numerous times, members would eventually be deported back to El Salvador. This is where the story gets twisted. The MS-13 guys from America took what they learned about drug trafficking and territorial extortion from the American gangs and hooked up with the death squads their parents had tried to escape, basically military trained execution units. MS-13 pretty much carved out an empire in blood and drugs throughout El Salvador and spread like wildfire to Honduras and Guatemala. They had military training, a gang-like sense of territory, an ungodly amount of drug and government money, and a thirst for violence borne from a civil war that cost over 100,000 lives. Their main calling card at the time was killing not only the person that stood in their way, but that person's entire family, then dismembering them completely (down to the fingers and toes), throwing the pieces in a big pile, and taking the heads so that nobody could identify...anything. People speculate that 5 to 10 thousand people just "disappeared" during MS-13's rise.

As they established themselves in southern Mexico and northern-Central America, the new MS-13 members where quietly emigrating to the US. Thus we come full circle. They quickly inserted themselves into every black-market underground way of making money that they could find- from smugggling heroin to shaking down 7-11's for protection money. There were reports of them just walking into drugstores and stealling every prescription they could fit into a bunch of garbage bags. there were also reports of them hiring themselves out to other gangs as snipers and assassins. Anything and everything that could make them money. And they pretty much just left an indiscriminate string of bodies whereever they went.

Around the late 90's they figured out that middle America and small town America were just open for the picking. And they took it like a goddamned military campaign-sending out small advance groups to set up shop and supply lines, then moving a larger group after the foundation was set up and proven to make money. Much of the meth problem which arose in that period can be directly traced back to MS-13. With their ultra-violence and complete lack of empathy for their enemies, they began clearing out competitors like livestock to the slaughter...literally. They were still big fans of the dismembering calling card, and apparently one of their favorite weapons is the chainsaw (gang members have said this was taken directly from "Scarface").

MS-13 is now in something like 30 states, and like 9 or 10 countries. Reports state that there are like 9 to 10 thousand members in the United States, and upwards of 60 to 65 thousand outside of the U.S.

This is a fucking army without borders. They are trained and funded, and have zero regard for human life or suffering. And don't be mislead, their namesake may be Salvadorian, but they are of American stock, from the civil war we funded to the gang wars of our cities to the "war on terror" (which cut the FBI's gang unit in half, diverted their attention to people's shoes on airplanes, and allowed MS-13 to spread unchecked for years), MS-13 bloodline is at least 3/4's USA.

If you see ANYONE with an "MS" or "Mara" or "MS-13" or "13" tattooed on their bodies (especially thier neck ,face, or forehead) turn around and walk the fuck away. Quickly. I'm serious, do not fuck with these psychos.
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Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:48 am

^^closing words are very, very good advice
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MS-13 Gang Seen as Growing Threat

Postby Jeff » Sun Nov 12, 2006 7:07 am

MS-13 Gang Seen as Growing Threat

Oct 30 2006

Image

PHARR, Texas – Shortly after midnight in late September, a Texas National Guard soldier with night-vision equipment spied four figures slipping through the brush and alerted Border Patrol agents.

The men were arrested, and one in particular stood out for the extensive tattoos across his face, body and arms.

A fingerprint check showed Santos Chileno-Gomez, a 23-year-old Salvadoran, had been deported for an assault on a Long Island, N.Y., police officer. His lengthy criminal record – and the tattoos – labeled him as a member of Mara Salvatrucha 13, a vicious international street gang that federal authorities call one of the most violent in the U.S.

Mr. Chileno-Gomez is among 76 MS-13 members apprehended by the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley during the just-ended fiscal year. That total was up from 62 the previous year, showing the gang's resilience to federal efforts aimed at rooting it out and its determination to travel almost at will through Texas to cliques operating throughout the U.S.

And, some police agencies believe, there is evidence that MS-13 has taken sides in the bloody war among drug cartels that's playing out in Nuevo Laredo.

"They are getting more disciplined and more organized. And they're getting smarter," said Susan Ritter, chairwoman of the criminal justice department at the University of Texas at Brownsville, who is preparing a scholarly research article on MS-13.

"In Texas, they often hold meetings or recruitment drives in public under the guise of legitimate activity, such as a soccer game or barbecue. There has been talk of efforts to join forces and operate with one overall leader. That hasn't happened yet," she said.

Officials estimate there are up to 10,000 hard-core members of the gang operating in 33 states, the largest clusters living in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and the Mid-Atlantic region. But Texas is one of the fastest-growing states for MS-13, simply by virtue of geography.

"From Honduras and El Salvador, the quickest routes in the U.S. are the smuggling pipelines that run from Mexico directly into the Valley," said Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Roy Cervantes. "From here, they quickly move on to Dallas or Houston and blend in with the immigrant communities there. They want out of the border area as quickly as possible."

In March 2005, when local police and federal agents began a national yearlong sweep of gang members, MS-13 members were involved in two shootings a week apart in Dallas that underscored the gang's violent streak. One involved a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the face and survived.

Eduardo Galicia, 19, wasn't so lucky.

Police said Mr. Galicia was playing soccer at a playground near Love Field when a man identified as an MS-13 member walked up and asked in Spanish, "What gang are you down with?" When Mr. Galicia said he didn't belong to a gang and turned to walk away, the man shot him in the back of the head. Dallas police made four arrests.

That year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators estimated there were about 140 MS-13 members in the North Texas region. In raids last March, police arrested about 44. Local police say the national roundup of gang members has forced MS-13 members to take a decidedly lower profile in the Dallas area.

"I'm not saying we don't have a problem," said Sgt. Mark Langford of the Dallas Police gang unit. "That would be naive. We're always watching."

It's a sentiment shared by police in Dallas' suburban neighbors.

"We're not seeing a lot of crime directly attributable to MS-13 members. It's minimal," said David Tull, spokesman for the Irving Police Department. "We're not in denial. We know they're out there.

"We hear on the street that someone is coming in and we'll see graffiti around town, but unless we can get them in the light at the right time, we don't get a chance to get them."

Said Patrick Murphy of the Carrollton police: "It's really difficult to say how many MS-13 gang members we have. ... They come and go constantly."

That fluidity – members moving among cliques and back and forth to Central America – makes it hard to pin down numbers in any community with any accuracy, police said.

"This is a gang that operates across borders. It's common to see members of the L.A. clique work in El Salvador, or Salvadoran members operating in New York, recruiting or sharing tactics," said Brian Trucheon, director of the FBI's MS-13 National Gang Task Force, created in 2004. "The scary thing for us is how quickly they can evolve to move around obstacles law enforcement throws up."

MS-13 began in the Ramparts section of Los Angeles in the mid-1980s to protect refugees of El Salvador's civil war from other street gangs. Mara Salvatrucha is street slang for "Salvadoran guard posse." The tattoos gang members use as a mark of identity and pride invariably involve the initials MS and the number 13, a designation of an earlier alliance with a Southern California gang.

A 2005 Department of Homeland Security gang threat assessment identified MS-13 as one of the largest and most violent gangs in the country. That February, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents launched a national sweep – Operation Community Shield – targeting MS-13 members. It was later expanded to include other violent gangs. More than 3,000 gangsters were eventually rounded up, one third of them affiliated with MS-13.

The gang's terrifying reputation includes a callous disregard for life and a willingness to use extreme violence with weapons ranging from machetes to semi-automatic rifles.

"Machetes, decapitations and sexual violence against victims are a common tool of intimidation," said Alonzo Pena, the ICE special agent in charge for South Texas. "They are growing rapidly and pose a significant risk to our communities. This is a gang we can't allow to continue to grow."

Intelligence gathering

As a policy, ICE agents conduct face-to-face interviews with any member of the group arrested in Texas in an attempt to gather detailed intelligence.

One sign of the group's increased organization: Recently, MS-13 leaders have told members to remove tattoos from their faces, necks and arms to avoid notice from law enforcement. During interviews with agents, MS-13 members now deny involvement and insist their tattoos are residue of past involvement.

"We're sure that's just disinformation they're feeding us," Mr. Pena said. "The rule of MS-13 is once in, always in."

Houston, with its large Central American immigrant community, is the group's center of activity in Texas, authorities said.

"It doesn't surprise us that they are coming in greater numbers across the border," said Shawna Dunlap, an FBI special agent in Houston. She said Houston saw an increase in what she called "high-profile" gang activity last year, including extortion, robbery and kidnapping.

"About 50 percent of those we see in Houston have been deported multiple times," she said.

While not the largest gang in Houston, MS-13 has become a significant player, said Capt. Mike Graham of the Houston police gang division. He said the gang is getting more organized.

"Our biggest challenge is that they are so transient," he said. "They prey on immigrants, but they don't necessarily stay in the immigrant communities. MS-13 is all over the city. If things get hot for them in Houston, they can disappear to North Carolina or D.C."

The FBI now assigns 10 agents to work with Houston police for investigations involving MS-13.

Homegrown threat

While MS-13 recruits heavily from El Salvador and Honduras and Central American refugees in the U.S., this is no invasion from south of the border. MS-13 is strictly a homegrown gang.

"Only after they were deported did the gang spread to Central America," said UT-Brownsville's Dr. Ritter, who set out to research the gang because she found little information available.

Once back in El Salvador and Honduras, members of MS-13 quickly fought with existing gangs for control, Dr. Ritter said. Both countries got tough, enacting stringent anti-gang laws known as super mano dura, or super hard hand, which provide hard prison time for those simply found to be MS-13 members.

Wherever it spreads, MS-13's business is crime, including drugs, extortion, human smuggling, car theft and contract killings.

"They're very opportunistic and diverse in criminal activities," said Mr. Trucheon of the FBI task force. "In some cities, they specialize in robbery; in others, extortion or crimes of violence. When they move into a community, they'll prey on the lawful and the law-breakers alike."

And intelligence gathered by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies indicates the gang's growing presence in the smuggling operations of Mexican drug cartels.

While the FBI says the evidence is indefinite, other agencies say MS-13 appears to have taken sides with the Sinaloa cartel in its vicious turf war with the Gulf cartel to control narcotics trafficking in Nuevo Laredo.

Like the Zetas, a gang of Mexican ex-military commandos, MS-13 members are believed to serve as cartel enforcers on both sides of the border.

"They've shown themselves willing to hire out to protect drug loads, smuggle aliens and intimidate witnesses. If they can find a way to make a dollar engaging in criminal activity, they'll do it," said Mr. Pena of ICE.

"We have received intel that in a short time, MS-13 has taken control of the rail lines in Southern Mexico used to transport illegal immigrants in from Central America," Mr. Pena said. "They are heavily involved in the human trafficking network, and they collect 'taxes' – extortion – from immigrants and the smugglers. MS-13 rapidly becomes a force to be reckoned with wherever they set up."

Border arrests

Many of the gang members apprehended in South Texas by the Border Patrol appear to be new recruits journeying to join cliques in the U.S. or older members traveling on gang business. Some are messengers, a position of trust within the gang's hierarchy.

The biggest border apprehension occurred in February 2005, when a car carrying a load of narcotics was stopped by a Department of Public Safety trooper near Falfurrias in Brooks County. One of the men inside was Ebner Rivera-Paz, a top leader of MS-13.

He had recently escaped from a Honduran prison, where he was being kept for his role in ordering gunmen to open fire on a bus with automatic weapons in Tegucigalpa. Twenty-eight people were killed; the intended target was an enemy of MS-13.

Mr. Rivera-Paz was convicted in federal court for illegal re-entry and deported this year to Honduras. It was his fifth deportation.

"When we apprehend these guys, they clearly are not afraid of the courts or law enforcement," said Mr. Cervantes of the Border Patrol. "And when they get deported, it won't be long until they return. To follow the smuggling route from Honduras takes about a month."

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http://www.kvue.com/news/top/stories/102906cckrTopMS13.88c2c639.html
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Postby 11:11 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:04 pm

Very interesting info. I've heard that some gang members are serving in the US military, where they can get urban combat training. I saw a video with LAPD (in a shootout) and one these guys, who was well trained, it seemed. I don't know if any of the inlistees are MS 13, but I've also seen news photos of US soldiers, in Iraq, posing while flashing gang symbols.
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Postby 11:11 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:10 pm

FBI says U.S. criminal gangs are using military to spread their reach


By Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, December 7, 2006



GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — U.S. criminal gangs have gained a foothold in the U.S. military and are using overseas deployments to spread tentacles around the globe, according to the FBI.

FBI gang investigator Jennifer Simon said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes this week that gang members have been documented on or near U.S. military bases in Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Iraq.

“It’s no secret that gang members are prevalent in the armed forces, including internationally,” Simon said, adding that the FBI is preparing to release a report on gangs in the military.

Among the cases:

¶ In Iraq, armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls have served as canvasses for spray-painted gang art. At Camp Cedar II, about 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, a guard shack was recently defaced with “GDN” for Gangster Disciple Nation, along with the gang’s six-pointed star and the word “Chitown,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

¶ In Germany, a soldier is being prosecuted this week for the murder of Sgt. Juwan Johnson, beaten to death on July 4, 2005, allegedly during a Gangster Disciple initiation in Kaiserslautern.

¶ In September, Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe warned teachers and parents to watch out for signs of gang activity, including the deadly MS-13 gang. At the time, DODDS-Europe public affairs officer David Ruderman said there had been two incidents in the past 18 months that involved students fighting, wearing gang colors or claiming to be members of gangs. In one of the incidents, a student’s family member may have been a gang member, he said.

¶ Earlier this year, Kadena Air Base on Okinawa established a joint service task force to investigate gang-related activity involving high school teens linked through the Web site MySpace.com.

Last year, the U.S. Army conducted 11 felony investigations into gang activity, one of those being the death of Johnson, said Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in Virginia. Three of the incidents, including the Johnson case, took place in Europe, Grey said.

“We investigate all credible reports of gang activity,” Grey said, adding that CID has programs to combat gang activity in the Army.

Soldiers are reluctant to talk openly about gang problems. However, Spc. Bautista Kylock, 21, of the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, said last week that there are gang members within his unit.

Kylock blamed recent violence around Vilseck on soldiers affiliated with the Crips and Bloods street gangs.

Scott Barfield, a former Defense Department gang detective at 2nd Cav’s last duty station, Fort Lewis, Wash., told the Sun-Times earlier this year that he had identified more than 300 soldiers at the base as gang members.

“I think that’s the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

However, Vilseck Provost Marshal Maj. Robert Ray said there is not a big gang problem in Vilseck and he has no information on gang members within 2nd Cav.

“The military comes from all walks of lives, from rich to poor, and with that comes the ‘society,’” Ray said. “Are there members of the military that belong to gangs? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.

“The military chain of commands do not tolerate things like that and do their best to weed out problems,” he said.

There are no official statistics on gang membership in the military, but some experts have estimated that 1 percent to 2 percent of the U.S. military are gang members, Simon said. That compares with just 0.02 percent of the U.S. population believed to be gang members, she wrote.

“Gang membership in the U.S. armed forces is disproportional to the U.S. population,” she added.

Jim Kouri, vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, wrote recently that, in addition to the Gangster Disciples, other Chicago gangs such as the Latin Kings and Vice Lords have infiltrated the military along with neo-Nazi groups.

Although there are no numbers to back it up, Simon believes gang member presence in the U.S. military is increasing.

“The U.S. Army has reported an increase in gang-related activity in the military, although their numbers are low,” she said.

Gang-related activity in the military is highly underreported, and the Army is the only branch of the military that collects gang-related statistics, she wrote.

“It’s often in the military’s best interest to keep these incidents quiet, given low recruitment numbers and recent negative publicity. The relaxation of recruiting standards, recruiter misconduct and the military’s lack of enforcement (gang membership is not prohibited in the Army) have compounded the problem and allowed gang member presence in the military to proliferate,” Simon said.

http://stripes.com/article.asp?section= ... chive=true
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