MS-13 Violence More Barbaric Than Americans Think
Local media outlets and federal officials have recently documented some particularly savage examples of violence coming from MS-13 gang members throughout the United States, and certain stories involve members killing, torturing, and/or cutting off body parts of teenagers.
The most recent example comes from California where, according to the San Jose-based Mercury News, a jury found a man guilty of shooting and killing a 17-year-old boy to impress MS-13 members in San Francisco.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), MS-13 is a transnational criminal enterprise and one of the United States’ largest street gangs, composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador and other Central American nations.
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Certain members were trained in guerilla warfare and the use of military weapons.
“The gang is well-organized and is heavily involved in lucrative illegal enterprises, being notorious for its use of violence to achieve its objectives. Fear and intimidation are used in extorting payments from any legitimate or illegitimate business owners for the right to conduct their business in MS-13 territory,” according to a DOJ profile.
“MS-13 members have been involved in rapes and witness intimidation. In addition to local crimes, MS-13 is known to participate in numerous transnational crimes.”
Those crimes include the illegal trafficking of stolen vehicles from the United States to Central America. MS-13 members also smuggle weapons and sell firearms illegally. They also are a major retail distributor of drugs in the Houston, Texas area.
“MS-13 also has theft crews traveling across the United States, stealing over-the-counter medications from retail stores that are then sold in the illegal market,” the DOJ profile of the gang reported.
“There have also been reports of MS-13’s involvement in human smuggling.”
One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that members must attack and kill rivals, often referred to as “chavalas,” whenever possible. Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increases the respect accorded to that member. This results in that member maintaining or increasing his position in the gang and opens the door to promotion to a leadership position.
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As DOJ members said in a press release last month that announced the outcome of a recent court case, in 2016 a Maryland MS-13 member helped take a 14-year-old boy to a wooded area. Gang members murdered the boy through repeated blows with a machete. This, because they suspected the victim talked to police about them.
In another example, in Virginia in March 2017, a squad of MS-13 members murdered a high school student in a dispute over marijuana.
“The gang members kidnapped the student from his front lawn and cut his hand off before killing him,” according to the DOJ press release.
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