Gangs like the MS13 and Barrio 18 in El Salvador are rigid about enforcing the boundaries of their territory. This has dramatic repercussions for both the bus drivers who drive and the students who walk across these borders.
“This street is the limit — look. The frontline of the war is right here. Here there are gunshots every so often. Down there are MS13. Up there are Barrio 18 Revolucionarios. It is an L. And we are in the middle.”
So says a middle-aged man. He is the extortion negotiator for a bus and minibus route. That is his job. In a country where even Coca Cola or Tigo pay extortion, in El Salvador there are architects, street vendors, shoemakers, teachers, and extortion negotiators. The country’s reality creates jobs. More details here.
Dozens said to be linked to El Salvador gang indicted in Boston area
Dozens of Boston-area residents linked to the Central American-based MS-13 street gang were being rounded up by law enforcement authorities on Friday after their indictments on racketeering conspiracy charges related to murders and other crimes, federal prosecutors said.
The indictment of 56 members, leaders and associates of “one of the largest criminal organizations in the United States” alleges that several of the accused played a role in the murders of at least five people since 2014 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and East Boston, as well as at least 14 attempted murders.
In Massachusetts, MS-13 is largely composed of immigrants and descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, recruited through intimidation in local high schools in towns with heavy concentrations of residents with ties to Central America, prosecutors said.
“Violence is a central tenet of MS-13, as evidenced by its core motto – ‘mata, viola, control,’ translated as, ‘kill, rape, control,'” the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.
The indictment also accuses Massachusetts-based members of MS-13, also known as “La Mara Salvatrucha,” of selling narcotics and committing robberies to raise money to send to leaders of the gang jailed in El Salvador.
It was not immediately clear how many of the 56 people indicted were under arrest on Friday afternoon. The statement said that 15 of the accused were already in custody on federal, state or immigration charges.
A representative of the U.S. attorney’s office could not be reached immediately for comment.
The racketeering conspiracy charge – under the federal law known as RICO – alone carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, or even life if the underlying criminal activity carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment, prosecutors said.
There is more to the story and here are some other chilling facts:
CIS.org: Since the recent surge in Central American immigrants crossing the southern border illegally, many have had questions about the Central American community in the United States. News accounts indicate that, in recent months, some 290,000 illegal immigrants (primarily from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) have been settled, or will soon be settled, by the federal government.1 Listed below are some basic socio-demographic statistics for immigrants in the United States from these countries.
The figures below are for both legal and illegal immigrants from the public-use files of the 2012 American Community Survey, collected by the Census Bureau:
- Population Totals: In 2012 there were 2.7 million immigrants from El Salvador (1.3 million), Guatemala (880,000), and Honduras (536,000) in the United States. Combined, the immigrant population from these three countries has grown 234 percent since 1990.
- The Top-10 States of Settlement: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Georgia.
- Illegal Immigrants: Department of Homeland Security estimates indicate that about 60 percent of immigrants from these three countries (1.6 million) are in the United States illegally.2
- Language: Of immigrants from El Salvador, 70 percent report they speak English less than very well; for immigrants from Guatemala, it is 72 percent; and for immigrants from Honduras, it is 69 percent.
- Home-ownership: Of households headed by Salvadoran immigrants, 41 percent are owner-occupied, as are 28 percent of Guatemalan households, and 29 percent of Honduran immigrant households. The corresponding figure for natives is 66 percent.
The figures below are for both legal and illegal immigrants from the public-use files of the March 2013 Current Population Survey, collected by the Census Bureau:
- Educational Attainment: 54 percent of Guatemalan immigrants (ages 25 to 65) have not graduated high school. The figure for Salvadorans is 53 percent, and for Hondurans, 44 percent. The corresponding figure for native-born Americans is 7 percent.
- Welfare Use: 57 percent of households headed by immigrants from El Salvador use at least one major welfare program, as do 54 percent of Honduran households, and 49 percent of Guatemalan immigrant households. Among native households it is 24 percent.3
- Poverty: 65 percent of Honduran immigrants and their young children (under 18) live in or near poverty (under 200 percent of the poverty threshold). For Guatemalan and Salvadoran immigrants and their children, it is 61 percent. The corresponding figure for natives and their children is 31 percent.4
- Health Insurance: 47 percent of Guatemalan immigrants and their young children (under 18) do not have health insurance. The figure for both Salvadoran and Honduran immigrants and their young children is 41 percent. The corresponding figure for natives and their children is 13 percent.5
- Share Working: 77 percent of immigrants from El Salvador (ages 25 to 54) have a job, as do 74 percent of Guatemalan immigrants and 73 percent of Honduran immigrants. The corresponding figure for natives is 76 percent.