America’s Most Vicious Gang

MS-13 is spreading senseless violence to cities and suburbs across the country.

By Sam Dealey from Reader's Digest | January 2006

MS-13: The Beginnings
The beginnings of MS-13 date from the 1980s, when more than a million Salvadoran refugees fled their war-wracked homeland for safe haven in the United States. Many settled in the barrios of Los Angeles, where they were preyed upon by the city’s turf-conscious Mexican and black gangs. The young immigrants banded together for protection. Armed with machetes and guns, their violent methods quickly established them as the city’s dominant gang. Since then, MS-13 has opened its ranks to Hispanics of all origins, and branched out into organized rackets such as car chopping, immigrant smuggling (mainly bringing Mexicans into the United States) and drug dealing.

It’s the gang’s mindless brutality, though, that keeps making headlines. In 2002, two MS-13 members overpowered a Charlotte, North Carolina, woman, who was in her car with her young child, and raped her in the backseat. That same year, gang members raped two deaf teenage girls in a Boston-area park. One girl was lifted from her wheelchair and slammed onto a park bench for the assault.

In the summer of 2002, the Los Angeles Police Department alerted its brethren in Fairfax County, Virginia — a suburb of Washington, D.C. — that some 20 MS-13 members from California had been dispatched to kill a Northern Virginia police officer at random. California members “are upset with the local MS-13 gang because a Fairfax County police officer has not been killed,” noted a police bulletin. The hit was foiled, but the threat was real: MS-13 is responsible for the execution of three federal agents and “numerous shootings of law enforcement officers across the country,” according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Always On Alert
The Washington, D.C., area has plenty of reasons to be on alert. MS-13 has turned Northern Virginia into the gang’s East Coast stronghold, with an estimated 2,000 members there. Schools in quiet suburban enclaves have become feeding grounds for MS-13. “Five years ago, I could name ten high schools where there really wasn’t gang membership,” says the gang-prevention coordinator for a Northern Virginia school district. “Now, every school is being touched. The seventh and eighth grades — those are prime recruitment ages.”

“There’s peer pressure to join gangs,” says Maria, a young teenager at a Boys & Girls Club run out of a church basement in Fairfax County. “Almost all your friends are in gangs, and you get pushed to join, to do drugs. We have a [police] officer at school, but gang members just hang out at the bus stops.” The Club’s director, Wonhee Kang, says the gang has steadily encroached on the neighborhood, and she means it literally: Not long ago, a murdered body was dumped on the church’s property, which abuts a known MS-13 redoubt.

“Young kids see the gang members as role models,” says Wonhee Kang. “The normal thing for a kid to say is, ‘I wanna be a fireman when I grow up; I wanna be President.’ But these kids? ‘I wanna be a gang member.’ ” It’s the same story in cities and suburbs across the country, from Chicago to Raleigh to Des Moines. One of the worst hit is Dallas, where gang-related school incidents soared from 92 in 2001 to 245 in 2004. At playgrounds and schoolyards, you can see MS-13 members flashing their blue-and-white colors, looking for new recruits. New members, some as young as 10, are “jumped in,” gang lingo for an initiation that involves beating a kid relentlessly for 13 seconds. New female members may be “sexed in” — gang-raped by as many as half a dozen men.

  • Your Comments

    • Viktor Drago

      most of the human garbage in gangs like this are ILLEGALS, borders should be closed and these pieces of crap be either shot on site or deported

    • Anonymous

      This is just the beginning of a large and growing Criminal
      Underclass…..Young men who feel that there is no place for them in
      society….Unless we find a way to make people feel that this is their
      America and that they have a stake in the game….This is what they see
      as their future…

      The costs do not and will not go away….As I see it…Either we develop
      social programs or we going to be living with roving gangs of
      bandits…..

      These people have to live somehow…..What you are seeing is a
      replication and expansion of what we have inside of our Prisons…..The
      strong preying on and victimizing the weak…

      The Wealthy …Will have their Gated Communities and Private
      Security…..Government is cutting back on Cops and Prisons …No one
      wants to pay for them after all…What do you think it will cost to let
      them run loose?…..Make no mistake ..YOU ARE GOING TO PAY…..The only
      choice is Social Programs…To build a better society….Or this
      alternative…

    • Two snakes coming together

      I say death penalty for any killer in MS-13, and life for everyone else. RICO

    • Kevin923214

      it was scary i dont know what to do

    • Maureenthefirst620

      When the government is involved in our homes and says no one can hit these kids, heres what you get. My father would’ve beat my you know what if I stepped out of line. I knew the rules, and if I chose to defy him I had a price to pay. He didn’t hit me for making a mistake, that is when he taught me. But if I was defiant look out. I am grateful he cared enough to do his job. Paaents of the 60′s want to be friends with their kids. They don’t need friends, they need parents. After they are adults you can become friends as well as parents. But always they must be taught respect for life, for authority, for elders, etc. Also, today no one is home to teach anything, not to mention all these children of children who never were taught right from wrong and then find themselves being teenage parents.  Our current answer…abortion , no God, no teaching, no morals, no rules, no consequences.

    • Maureenthefirst620

      Where is Elliot Ness? He’d end this fiasco. Then we cry police brutality.  When parents don’t do their job, when the government says no one can it these kids, no rules, no consequences, here is what you get. Oh by the way no God in homes, schools or the country.  Congratulations. We finally destroyed every thing. We are worried about green energy.