The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
A recorded phone call between MS13 members imprisoned in El Salvador and leaders in the United States indicates an increasingly sophisticated command structure, and has highlighted the operational links between the gang's branches in the two countries.
Police in Italy have dismantled a gang identifying itself as part of the MS13, in a sign Central American gangs may be expanding their influence, and possibly their presence, in Europe.
A study of gender roles in Central America's "maras" sheds light on the dual role of women, who are simultaneously violently exploited and heavily relied on by male gang members.
El Salvador gangs are using a poorly regulated money transfer system provided by one of the region's major cellular phone networks to facilitate extortion, illustrating the continued bilking of the underclass amidst a gang truce that was supposed to lead to less crime.
Central American street gangs have established a presence in Spain and receive orders from their counterparts in Honduras and El Salvador, says the Spanish government, adding to fears these "maras" may become genuine transnational criminal actors.
Next year's presidential elections are converting El Salvador's gang truce into a political football that may be its undoing.
When the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six Salvadoran leaders of the MS-13, only one of them is described outright as a "narcotics trafficker." Analyst Hector Silva examines the criminal history of one of these men, known as alias "Medio Millon," and his many faces: an alleged businessman who has long faced scrutiny, an alleged member of an MS-13 faction, and a drug supplier.
El Salvador's new security minister has claimed the truce has allowed the Barrio 18 and MS-13 street gangs to strengthen ties with transnational drug traffickers, showing a significant rhetorical shift from his predecessor.
A recent spike in homicides raises concerns about the state of El Salvador's gang truce. But if the numbers are examined more carefully, they show that these alarm bells are more political than empirical.
Although the El Salvador gang truce has significantly lowered the country's homicide rate, the distribution of violence has remained nearly the same, raising questions about how wide the effects of the truce have actually been.