Guatemala Identifies MS-13 Leadership

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An official investigation into the workings of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) in Guatemala paints a picture of a highly organized, hierarchical structure, centralized around a board of nine leaders who hand down instructions from prison.

The Anti-Extortion Unit of Guatemala’s Public Ministry has named nine leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) street gang in Guatemala, reported Prensa Libre, eight of them based in El Boqueron prison in Santa Rosa. (See list below.)

Together, the nine leaders form a committee that jointly makes decisions and gives orders to regional bosses on the outside via people who come to visit them in prison.

The “committee” ordered some 242 killings in a 14-month period between 2010 and 2011, according to investigators.

InSight Crime Analysis

The report portrays the MS-13 as a highly organized, hierarchical structure, in which each member has a clearly defined role. No member of the group can carry arms without authorization, or talk to members of rival group Barrio 18, and they must hand over all income from extortion rackets to the leadership.

The description of the group’s structure, and the fact that much of its activity is ordered directly by the central leadership, points to the potential impact that a government deal with gangs to cut violence could have in Guatemala. A gang truce in El Salvador, between the government, MS-13 and Barrio 18, has cut murders in half in the last year.

Alleged members of MS-13’s Guatemalan central leadership committee:

Name Alias
Ronald Bosbely Choc Aleman El Sexy
Asencio Esquite Gonzalez El Cepy
Manuel Enrique Santizo Palala El Snoopy
Julio Ismael Ortiz Aguilar El Chapin
Carlos Antonio de Leon Ramirez El Gato
Jaime Noe Lira Morales El Huevon
Amilcar Galindo Torres Rosales El Garrobo
Edgar Eduardo Salazar Santana El Espydy
Other – unnamed
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