MS13 News

El Salvador Gang Leaders Confirm Truce

El Salvador Gang Leaders Confirm Truce

El Salvador gang leaders confirmed that they have agreed amongst themselves to reduce violence, setting the stage for a new political war over the dynamics of El Salvador's homicide rate.  Read More

MS13 Profile



The Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13, is perhaps the most notorious street gang in the Western Hemisphere. While it has its origins in the poor, refugee-laden neighborhoods of 1980s Los Angeles, the gang’s reach now extends from Central American nations like El Salvador and through Mexico, the United States, and Canada. They rob, extort and bully their way into neighborhoods and have gradually turned to transnational crimes such as human smuggling and drug trafficking. Their activities have helped make the Northern Triangle -- Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras -- the most violent place in the world that is not at war. In October 2012, the US Department of the Treasury labeled the group a "transnational criminal organization," the first such designation for a US street gang. 

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More MS-13 News

  • El Salvador Gang Leaders Confirm Truce

    El Salvador gang leaders confirmed that they have agreed amongst themselves to reduce violence, setting the stage for a new political war over the dynamics of El Salvador's homicide rate. 

  • 'New Gang Truce' Announced in El Salvador

    Raul Mijango

    El Salvador's gangs have reportedly committed to a new truce, which, if true, is apparently intended to show the government that the gangs exert major influence over the country's violence levels, and that their demands must be taken seriously. 

  • 500 Counterfeit Police Uniforms Seized in El Salvador

    Factory where 500 fake police uniforms were seized

    Authorities in El Salvador seized 500 fake police uniforms that may have been intended for use as disguises for gang members, as clashes between the country's street gangs and security forces intensify.

  • El Salvador Police Chief Targets Rising Gang Violence

    El Salvador's Police Director Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde

    In a stark statement illustrating the gravity of the current situation in El Salvador, the director of the country's civilian police force (PNC) said law enforcement had permission to shoot criminals whenever necessary.

  • El Salvador Moves Gang Leaders Back to Max-Security Prison

    Government officials meet inmates at El Salvador's maximum-security prison

    Several months after the demise of El Salvador's 2012 gang truce, leaders of the country's most powerful street gangs are being moved back into maximum-security prisons, finalizing the break with the previous administration's security policy. 

  • The Death Foretold of an El Salvador Gang Informant

    Miguel Angel Tobar, after his death

    Miguel Angel Tobar was a protected witness for the government of El Salvador who admittedly killed over 50 people but also helped put more than 30 gang members in prison. He was killed while hiding out in one of the most peaceful parts of the country. This is the second of a two-part series. See part one here.

  • The Gang Informant El Salvador Failed to Protect

    Murdered MS13 member Miguel Angel Tobar

    Miguel Angel Tobar was an assassin and a former member of a faction of El Salvador's biggest gang, the MS13. He was murdered on Friday, November 21, 2014 by hit men. He was also a key witness for the Attorney General's Office who helped send more than 30 gang members to prison. He was a man that the state had promised to protect. This is the story of a man that both the police and the Attorney General's Office knew would be assassinated.

  • The US Gang El Salvador Won't Admit Exists

    "13" is added to gangs' names to show they are La Eme affiliates

    In the second part of this two-part series on the history of southern California gangs in El Salvador, anthropologist Juan Jose Martinez looks at a conflict involving one prominent gang leader, Casper, and discusses how the presence of the Sureños gangs associated with Casper -- which, like its larger cousins MS13 and Barrio 18, are mostly made up of those deported from California in the 1990s -- are largely ignored by the state. For part one of this series, see here

  • El Salvador's Other Gang from California: the Sureños

    The Sureños are El Salvador's little talked about "other" gangs

    It is common when talking about gangs -- or maras -- in El Salvador to mention only the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and the Barrio 18. However, they are far from the only ones.

  • Report Details How El Salvador Gangs Use Rape As Weapon

    The shoes of a woman murdered in El Salvador

    An article on sexual violence and femicide in El Salvador demonstrates the alarming extent to which gang members use rape to terrorize local communities and the degree to which this practice forms a part of gang culture.