Barrio 18 News

Research Sheds Light on Obstacles to Leaving El Salvador Gangs

Research Sheds Light on Obstacles to Leaving El Salvador Gangs

A recent study of El Salvador's gang phenomenon has shown that, while it is possible for gang members to abandon these groups, desistance depends on several factors, including the gangs' own acquiescence.

Barrio 18 Profile

Barrio 18

Barrio 18

The 18th Street Gang, also known as "Barrio 18," is one of the largest youth gangs in the Western Hemisphere. Like its better known rival, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), the Barrio 18 has cells operating from Central America to Canada, including the United States. With thousands of members across hundreds of kilometers, and interests in a number of different illicit activities, Barrio 18 is one of the more significant emerging criminal threats in the region. Still, it is questionable how far its different units are coordinated across borders, or even within the same city.

More Barrio 18 News

  • Are El Salvador’s Gangs Plotting to 'Take Down the System'?

    El Salvador’s police have claimed that the country’s “maras,” or street gangs, are planning an all-out attack on security forces, despite the fact that these groups have neither the organizational structure nor motive to do so.

  • Honduras: Home to the New Ciudad Juarez?

    Reports that San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has taken the place of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as the most violent city in the hemisphere are a result of shifts in trafficking patterns which are putting Central America at the heart of the drug trade.

  • Surge in Disappearances Reflects Gang Violence in El Salvador

    El Salvador saw a huge number of disappearances in 2011, with capital San Salvador alone registering more than 2,000 missing people, in a sign of growing gang violence.

  • Counting the Amount of Cocaine Passing Through El Salvador

    A top drug policy official in El Salvador said they have no official estimate for how much cocaine transits through the country. After registering a record murder rate in 2011, could El Salvador be seeing record amounts of cocaine pass through its borders?

  • El Salvador: The New Disappeared

    El Salvador is suffering a new wave of disappearances, mostly of young people and teenagers, who go missing without explanation in a phenomenon linked to the gang violence hitting the country.

  • Barrio 18

    The 18th Street Gang, also known as "Barrio 18," is one of the largest youth gangs in the Western Hemisphere. Like its better known rival, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), the Barrio 18 has cells operating from Central America to Canada, including the United States. With thousands of members across hundreds of kilometers, and interests in a number of different illicit activities, Barrio 18 is one of the more significant emerging criminal threats in the region. Still, it is questionable how far its different units are coordinated across borders, or even within the same city.

  • Barrio 18 (M-18)

    The 18th Street Gang, also known as "Barrio 18" or the "M-18," is one of the largest youth gangs in the Western Hemisphere. Like its better known rival, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the Barrio 18 has cells operating from Central America to Canada, including the United States. With thousands of members across hundreds of kilometers, and interests in a number of different illicit activities, Barrio 18 is one of the more significant emerging criminal threats in the region. Still, it is questionable how far its different units are coordinated across borders, or even within the same city.

  • Honduras Mass Grave Found, Amid Gang's Peace Offer

    The discovery of a mass grave in Honduras, allegedly used by the M-18 gang to bury their victims, undermines the group's recent calls for peace talks with the government, and for an end to police abuse against them.

  • Honduras Gang Seeks Talks with Government

    Jailed leaders of Barrio 18, one of Central America’s most formidable street gangs, have called for dialogue with the Honduras government.

  • Guatemala Seeks to Curb Crimes Committed from Jails

    The Guatemalan Public Ministry and the National Police say they have identified five major leaders of the Barrio 18 (M-18)  gang currently held at the maximum security prison, and who are responsible for extorting people throughout the country from their cells.

    The announcement comes on the heels of accusations that one of the jailed leaders of the M-18 faction, known as “Little Sayco Criminal,” had planned and executed the bombing of a bus last month, which killed seven civilians.

Investigations

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El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...