Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) International Criminal Gang

Ryan Roberts, Scott Romaniuk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Mara Salvatrucha, most commonly referred to as MS-13, is a street gang from El Salvador. The group has been called one of the world’s largest and most violent gangs in existence. Farah and Babineau have recently referred to MS-13 as a group “rapidly evolving into a criminal-economic-military-political power that poses an existential threat to the states of El Salvador and Honduras.” Although the gang formed in Los Angeles, California, MS-13 has been identified in nearly all 50 American states. Additionally, they operate in Canada, El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. In 1996, the United States government passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act. The purpose of this legislation was to combat and remove non-citizens convicted of crimes. Since a majority of the Salvadoran refugees had entered the country illegally, and members of MS-13 were involved in criminal behavior, policing targeted the gang for deportation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Homeland Security
EditorsScott N. Romaniuk, Martin Scott Catino, C. Augustus Martin
Place of PublicationBoca Raton, Fl.
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781315144511
ISBN (Print)9781032362632 , 9781138501720
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2023


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