MS -13 has almost 6,000 members in the US and it is growing rapidly, counterterrorism expert discusses the matter. A lot of people have died as a result of the MS-13 activities. The organization began in the 1980’es in Los Angeles primarily as a stoner gang. It was not involved in drug distribution but was focused on drug use. Then it became very violent because its founders actually came from the rebellion in San Salvador.

The were part of the peasants’ guerrilla fighters, therefore, they were accustomed to warfare. They brought that warfare to Los Angeles and it has since spread throughout the United States. The problem has now become terrible in the Washington DC area, in Northern Virgina and Maryland. These areas have now become the hub of MS-13 activities. Other areas of strong concentration are Boston, New York, and New Jersey.

Any area which has a settled community from Central America see the growth of MS-13. They move in and destruct the neighborhood and all the local immigrants that are trying to become part of the American fabric.

What is the federal response?

The FBI first formed a task force, about in 2004, to deal with the problem. It has done raids all over the United States and there have been hundreds of arrests. Yet there are 6,000 reputed members, and other estimates exist for 9 to 10,000 members as of 2009. These numbers are very fluid because we don’t know who is a member. Traditionally they have been wearing tattoos, often facial tattoos. They have been putting the MS-13 label all over their body, but now they are shying away from that.

Now they use fewer tattoos so that it is more difficult to spot them and they can be even more dangerous. The Salvadorean government has labeled them as a terror organization. The US should do the same because they engage in kidnapping, rape. child prostitution, murder even for hire. This is all they do and they don’t even have a political foundation as some other terrorist groups have.

Anybody who is a member of Ms-13 is indeed involved in terrorism. This is not an immigrant group. They are not immigrating to the USA to become part of the country. These are people who are coming here to commit crimes. Most of their leaders have come from San Salvador, but they also come from Guatemala and Honduras. They already committed crimes in Mexico and Central America and fled to the United States to hide.