Thursday, August 27, 2009

MS-13: Mara Salvatrucha Trece-Links & Notes

Not really a post, just a research bibliography for my own work. Updated November 27, 2009.

With a Central American connection, now from Canada through significant parts of the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. The strategic geographic placement gives them ample chances to rule illegal drug and labor markets (immigration). This explains FBI interest, since MS is not as large a gang. They've also grabbed location fairly quickly. This is also why they've been sensationalized as the "deadliest" gang.

They say the extensive tattooing pictured below is now discouraged, since it signifies affiliation all too well. That is borne out in the National Geographic videos posted below, where few people have visible tats. But it also seems that this gang is more wrapped up in identity than most gangs, what with the tattoos (and choices of weapons?) Or, it may be that differences in weaponry and tattooing are based on regional factors.

Some of the imagery of the gangs appears to be an answer to the LK: Jokers rather than Kings. Like, the wild cards of the deck.

--2009, November 25 WashPost "3 Men with ties to MS-13 indicted in death of Md. man."
--2009, November 6 Police One "MS-13 puts out hit on ICE agent". From NY Daily News.
--2009, October 27  WashExaminer "Gangs flee North Virginia for havens in DC, Maryland."
**2009, IPS "El Salvador: Gangs recruiting younger & younger members." According to this article, the Salvadoran "cliques" are doing away with the "jump-out", a 13-second hazing that consists of a beating from already-initiated gang members.
**2005, October 30  LA Times "Gang uses deportation to it's advantage to flourish in the US." This is a fantastic article about the new revolving door, numbers, and migration patterns within the U.S.
--2005, March 31  WTOP 103.5 FM "Machetes becoming weapons of choice for N. Va gangs." (!)

Photos: (credits)
Credit: indymedia ireland, photo from Managua, Nicaragua
Credit: Washington Examiner, photo from Silver Spring, MD

There are a few sites, (not good ones) that assert October 30, 2005, was MS "Kill a Law Enforcement Officer Day." I am inclined, due to poor reporting, to discount this--especially since the LA Times missed it on the day in question. The sensationalism seems to have spread through fringe groups in the immigration agenda.
The motto: "Mata, Controla, Viola" (kill, control, rape).

This video is a picture series of extensive tattoos, some hand signals. The most important picture here is the one that shows a member of MS 13 in front of a computer keyboard. That picture shows that MS-13 has the capability to access the same information and communications systems as anyone else who has an interest in city affairs, labor relations, and international trade.

National Geographic: If you discount sensationalism, a pretty good series. 51 minutes long.

Web Sites:
--Federal Bureau of Investigation, "MS-13: A Threat Assessment." a page with other links to Federal reporting and programs. The FBI's audience here is primarily middle-class parents, and as such is not giving its best threat assessment in these pages (or in their 2009 report). They do have the international aspect of law enforcement somewhat covered in these pages.

**Know Gangs. com on Mara Salvatrucha, linking it historically to conflicts in El Salvador. Good.

--Logan, Samuel P. has written a book on MS-13. This is the Web site for the book. (The book is categorized True Crime rather than Criminology.)

**MS-13 News & Analysis. An entire Web blog devoted to MS-13 and news related to the gang. Wonderful resource for serious students of its international character..

--Wikipedia, "Mara Salvatrucha"

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