Maria Aurich and Berenice Rosas

History of MS13

MS13 or also known as Mara Salvatrucha is a criminal gang originated in California. Mara Salvatrucha is one of the most dangerous in the United states not only because of the number of members but by the way they kill. MS13 has spread to Canada, Mexico, and Central America. The majority of the gang is ethnically composed of Central Americans (mostly Salvadorans) and active in urban and suburban areas.

In the U.S., the MS-13 has an especially heavy presence in the Los Angeles county ,the Washgton, D.C. metropolitan areas of Fairfax County, Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Prince George's County, Maryland; Long Island, New York; the Boston, Massachusetts area; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Houston, Texas. There is also a presence of MS-13 in Toronto, Ontario. Gang members, who sport numerous tattoos on their bodies and faces, wear blue and white colors taken from the El Salvadoran flag. Their membership is estimated to total over 36,000 in the Honduras alone. Members typically range in age from 11 to 40 years old.

History of the Leader

MS13 doesn't have one specific leader but it is alleged that a group of Salvadorians started Mara Salvatrucha and then members started to come. From there it just continued growing and their crimes started getting more serious and harmful towards the citizens. Many people think that they wanted to get back at someone or something so that is why they started to act up towards law enforcement and the justice system.

initiation process/membership

Ms13 has members ranging from11-40 years old. Members who usually join the gang have very hard living situations, to be in MS13 you have to know someone from the gang or have a family member who will talk to the gang leader decide to put you on or not. To get into the gang you have to get jumped for 13 seconds and if a female wants to enter ms13 she has to get gang raped by 6-8 men. Once you are in you have to be put on trail, by this the new gang members have to either beat, rape, or kill an individual to show what they are really made of. Once you are in the ms13 you cannot leave this gang, you are in it for life and if you do decide to leave this gang or ask for protection they go after you and your family.

Contact with the law

"Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, continues to expand its influence in the United States. FBI investigations reveal that it is present in almost every state and continues to grow its membership, now targeting younger recruits more than ever before.

To counteract this growth, the FBI formed the MS-13 National Gang Task Force in December 2004. Based at FBI Headquarters, this intelligence-driven task force combines the expertise, resources, and jurisdiction of federal agencies that investigate this violent international street gang. It focuses on maximizing the flow of information and intelligence, coordinating investigations nationally and internationally, and helping state and local law enforcement improve operations and prosecutions targeting MS-13." said Director Muller from the FBI.

Court Case

In March of 2004, 16-year old Edgar Guzman, was brought before the US Bureau of Immigration and Customers Enforcement in Colorado. He had entered the United States illegally, traveling from Guatemala on foot. In Guatemala he had been a member of the MS-13 gang. His sole reason for leaving his native country was to escape the gang life, live with his Aunt in Georgia, and begin school. He begged authorities not to deport him

"If I had stayed in Guatemala, members of the Salvatrucha gang would have killed me. I’ve seen them hit people with baseball bats and shoot them. I know they kill people. I know that if I go back to Guatemala they will torture me. They will kill me if I go back to Guatemala. They will kill me because I left the gang."

On March 10, 2004, Edgar was released from jail and deported. On March 20, 2004, 10 days after he was deported, Edgar was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds. He had hidden in his home for 10 days and eventually left the confines of his house when his grandmother had unexpectedly died. He barely made it 5 blocks from his home before members found him and delivered the punishment that was deemed appropriate for his deserting the gang. Death is almost always the only means of escaping the clutches of MS-13.


Jose “Fantasma” Delgado, 28, of Lawrenceville, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to racketeering charges involving murder as a member of Mara Salvatrucha-13.

“MS-13 is a ruthless street gang that used violence to spread fear through Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton Counties,” acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a news release. “While the gang preyed mostly on other rival gang members, this case demonstrates the tragic violence that harmed innocent citizens when the gang’s activities spilled out into the community.”