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Mara Salvatrucha: The Deadliest Street Gang in America

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2017
27 pages

This research paper addresses Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, often cited as the most violent gang in America and traces the gang's inception and its development exponentially into the United States. 


Violence attributed to Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, has increased ten-fold due to certain policies and laws during the Obama administration in areas such as Long Island, New York; Suffolk County, which encompasses Brentwood and Central Islip; and other areas in New York State. Violence in these communities has raised awareness by the Trump administration, who has declared "war" on MS-13. The Department of Justice under the Trump administration has lent their full support to Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) to deport MS-13 gang members back to their home countries, such as El Salvador. It has been determined that MS-13 has entered into an alliance with the Mexican Mafia, or La Eme, security threat group, a notorious prison gang inside the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the Mexican drug trafficking organization, Knights Templar, peddles their drugs throughout a large MS-13 national network across the country; and MS-13 is attempting to move away from a loosely run clique into a more structured organization - organizing the hierarchy by combining both west and east coast MS-13 gangs. The recommendation section of this report highlights laws that have been enacted in the past, and also looks at new legislation such as H.R. 3003 "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act" and H.R. 3004 "Kate's Law". If these laws are passed they will become excellent tools that can be used against MS-13.

Date Published: July 1, 2017