Mara Salvatrucha Gang, a Mexican Cartel, and the United States Have a Problem - ABC News
Aug 5, Arch-rivals to MS, Barrio 18 has an estimated to Loosely coordinated between cells or 'cliques' even at the local level. Oct 24, A member of MS in El Salvador (AFP/Getty) Attorney General made the comparison between the infamous gang and the Prohibition-era. Enter your digit service number or digit SIM serial number. Check number. Cancel. Back to top. Telstra Home · Consumer advice · Critical Information.MS-13 gang member caught traveling with migrant caravan
One way the gang spreads is by having members deliberately seek deportation to countries where MS plans to start new operation centers.
Because that is an area where we want to expand. Others are to go to other countries. They are becoming more sophisticated criminals For years, MS has dealt in extortion, murder for hire, small-scale drug trade, weapons trafficking, money laundering and human smuggling.
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Until recently, however, it wasn't considered a big player in any of those activities, at least when compared with Mexican drug-trafficking organizations like the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas. But that may be changing. The gang has a complex coyote network that can reportedly move individuals from Mexico's Northern Triangle to the U.
At the same time, MS is currently escalating its weapons and drug trafficking.
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The gang's arms caches now include high-powered weapons like RPGs and surface to air missiles, some of which are apparently being sold to terrorist organizations such as Colombia's FARCaccording to the report. Meanwhile, the group appears to be expanding its role in the cocaine trade, as suggested by the dramatic increase in arrests of MS drug lords in the past few years.
They are deepening ties with Los Zetas Apart from the human-trafficking activities already noted above, MS is also working with Los Zetas on enforcement and paramilitary operations. Now, Guatemalan authorities say, they have begun to see new and disturbing evidence of an alliance between the Maras and another of the most feared criminal organizations in Latin America — a deal with the potential to further undermine that U.
Secret jailhouse recordings and a turncoat kidnapper have described a pact between leaders of the Maras and the Zetas, the brutal Mexican paramilitary drug cartel that has seized control of large parts of rural northern Guatemala in its campaign for mastery of drug-trafficking routes from South America to the United States.
In recent months, authorities say, they have begun to see the first signs that the Zetas are providing paramilitary training and equipment to the Maras in exchange for intelligence and crimes meant to divert law-enforcement resources and attention. There is some evidence that other Mexican cartels have paid Central American street gangs to sell drugs for them.
And Salvadoran authorities said they are aware of informal links between the Zetas and local cliques of the Mara Salvatrucha paid to sell individual shipments of drugs, but officials have seen no proof of any formal deal between the gangs. But a formal, durable alliance with the Maras could bring the Zetas thousands of new foot soldiers, extending the cartel's reach into the cities of Guatemala, and, potentially, other countries in Central America where the Maras maintain a grip on urban slums.
Guatemalan authorities told The Associated Press that they believe the Zetas have trained a small group of Maras in at least one camp inside Mexico.
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Zeta members have spoken of recruiting 5, more, although the extent to which they have succeeded remains unclear, officials said. Surreptitious recordings of jailhouse conversations between Zeta and Mara leaders contain mentions of a deal between the two groups, according to a high-ranking investigator who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive and dangerous nature of the information.
Eduardo Velasco, head of an Interior Ministry task force on organized crime, told the AP that authorities believed the Maras' training by the Zetas had manifested itself in the increasing brutality, planning, organization and firepower of Maras' operations in Guatemala.
Previously armed mainly with handguns, Maras, recognizable by intimidating, dark tattoos that cover swaths of their bodies and often their faces, have begun carrying AR, M and AK assault rifles and military fragmentation grenades.