By Kellene Bishop
With all that is going on in your life, why should you be better informed of a gang of illegal immigrant rebels? Because they are a realistic face of the harm which threatens your life, even your everyday life. They are not an obscure gang. In fact, the FBI defines MS-13 as the most organized crime entity in the U.S. They are feared not solely because of their horrific violent acts, but due to their organization. They specifically target middle and high school for recruitments. They have no compunction of committing violent acts upon their fellow citizens, as they fear no repercussions. Their greatest criminal focuses are on human and drug trafficking, and contract killing combined with unspeakable violence. A crime will never be committed by one of these members without it being accompanied by a beating, a rape, a murder, a dismemberment, or all of the above. They also have known ties and alliances to Al-Queda.
Who are they and why should you care? They are MS-13, otherwise known as Mara Salvatrucha. And yes, they have invaded your community. Visual evidence of such will be manifested by graffiti in your area that says “MS,” “Mara,” or “MS-13.”
Their violent organized traits stem from the fact that the majority of their founders are well trained in guerilla warfare in El Salvador. As such they possess a level of methodical training and skill set than any rival gang. Their very initiation is bloodcurdling. After enduring a slow 13 count beating, minimum, the inductee must then commit a violent act—either a beating, a rape, or murder—prior to being to be accepted. If they fail in their efforts within 13 hours, then they are murdered themselves in order that the MS-13 does not get spread by “incompetents.” (If you are a girl, the right of passage would include an obligatory gang rape). The more violent they are, the more elevated they are among their “military” crime group. One MS-13 member claimed during questioning, “The crazier you are known to be, the more respect the gang gives you.” On November 26, 2008, Jonathan Retana was convicted of the murder of Miguel Angel Deras, which the authorities linked to an MS-13 initiation.
As further evidence of their organization skills, there is a unique communication which takes place among them. Gang “signs” are also used by MS-13 including the infamous “devil horns” sign which gang members “throw” to signify their ownership of their turf. The devil horn sign, when turned upside down, forms the letter “M”. Members also use multiple hand signals to communicate. Known as “stacking”, these signs can be used to indicate their clique or to coordinate an attack. Pulling up on the shoulders of the shirt indicates an imminent attack while rubbing the belly indicates a shooting. A brush on the left shoulder indicates a stabbing attack. One of the defining factors of MS-13 is their absolute intolerance for anyone who informs the police of their activities. Court papers in Nassau County detail recorded telephone conversations where a MS-13 member bragged how he had put a stop to an informant—”I put one in the chest and three in the head.”
Once a member is brought into the gang, they are in for life. They cannot act without the boss’s consent—they cannot kill without reason, cannot talk to the police, cannot skip gang meetings, nor can they leave the gang. MS-13 has no tolerance for gang members who drop out. A MS-13 member and even their family members must die in order to exit MS-13, no exceptions. On May 13, 2006, Ernesto “Smokey” Miranda, an ex-high ranking soldier and one of the founders of the Mara Salvatrucha, was murdered at his home in El Salvador a few hours after declining to attend a party for a gang member who had just been released from prison. Not only had he offended his “brothers” for not attending the party, but he had threatened dissent by studying law and working to keep children out of gangs.
The majority of these gang members are in the country illegally. As such they are deported regularly. Going along with the fact that MS-13 members can’t simply get out, the much reported incident of Edward Guzman, a 14-year-old MS-13 members proves the more significant punishment of deportation. Guzman left Guatemala to escape the gang lifestyle and illegally came to the U.S. At the age of 16, on March 10, 2004, he was deported back to his home. He hid in his home for several days. His first day to venture out was March 20, 2004. He made it only 5 blocks where he was shot multiple times. MS-13 grudges never die.
Wikipedia mistakenly states that this gang originated in Los Angeles. In fact they originated in El Salvador and were the largest formalize gang there. The gangs then infiltrated the Los Angeles area as it was already rampant with a gang culture. While they originally consisted of Salvadorans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans, their desired “market” penetration has forced them to take on any Central American individual who can suitably pass their initiation and sub-sequent performance requirements. Their targets are indiscriminate so long as they can wreak horror and obedience to their reign in their communities. Case in point, in the minds of an MS-13 member, the term “road rage” means nothing to them. It is their road, and they allow you to drive on it. Obstruction of such means death. On June 22, 2008, in San Francisco, CA, a 21-year old MS-13 gang member, Edwin Ramos, shot and killed a father, Anthony Bologna, 48, and his two sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, after their car briefly blocked Ramos from completing a left turn down a narrow street. In spite of their cache of firearms, most MS-13 members are adept in the use of a machete.
They are not a criminal gang so much as they are much more focused on political power. As such they have been ordered to focus on eliminating border patrol guards along the Arizona border as it interferes with their money-making activities. (see:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/mar/28/20050328-125306-7868r/ and http://www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_3386933) In Honduras, MS-13 executed a son of the son of Honduras President Ricardo Maduro after kidnapping and torturing him. (1997) All over Central America, their acts of death and defiance are intended to taunt government officials. Members also left a dismembered corpse with a note for the Honduras president that “more people will die… the next victims will be police and journalists.” In 2004, Guatemalan President Oscar Berger received a similar messages attached to the body of a dismembered man from MS-13 members. As such, this gang operates with no fear of government reprisals. Since they were able to sufficiently overcome any such consequences with their own Salvadoran government, every country, state, and community they enter with the same haughty view of the Laws’ inability to deliver suitable consequences. They do not fear a prison sentence. Rather they return to their gangs upon release as an elevated veteran. Thus there are uninhibited in the horror of their criminal acts.
They have sufficiently permeated every state in the U.S. Even our nation’s capital holds no borders for them, in fact, they flaunt the fact that they are the strongest gang in the D.C. area. In northern Virginia and southern Maryland, around the Washington D.C. area, local authorities estimate MS-13 membership to be between 5,000 and 6,000 members. In July of 2003, the Washington DC area encountered three known murders attributed to MS-13. The first was the murder of a federal informant. The second was the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy. The third was the death of a 16-year-old boy who had both of his hands completely chopped off.
In December of 2004 in Honduras, a local MS-13 chapter stopped a traveling bus mostly filled with women and children and sprayed it with automatic gunfire. No robbery was attempted. No rape or kidnapping. Simply murder and mayhem which resulted in the death of 28 people. Their motive was to cause horror in the government as indicated by a note left behind promising the government that more killings of this nature would take place.
So why should YOU be concerned about them? Because they are yet one more aspect of a potential emergency situation for which you need to be prepared. Do not underestimate their violence. You will not be able to reason with them. You will not be able to give them what they want and have them simply go away. Horrific violence is at their very core. You will need to be mindful of them and to defend yourself appropriately.