Research Paper on MS-13: Salvadorian Group Formed by Ernesto Miranda in 1980s

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  889 Words
Date:  2023-01-16


Mara Salvatrucha famously known as the MS-13 is a well-organized Salvadorian group created in the 1980s. The pioneers of the MS-13 were mainly immigrants who were fleeing from the El Salvador Civil War (Rosen & Kassab, 2019). The MS-13 was formed by Ernesto Miranda - popularly referred to as "Smokey." He was an ex-soldier who fled Salvador to California to escape the bloody civil war (Mendez, 2019). Ernesto ganged up with other young Salvadorian immigrants and trained them to become one of the city's prominent gang. Ernesto was later deported back to El Salvador while other immigrants were left behind. The remaining officials of the MS-13 continued with the leadership roles of the group to ensure its survival.

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History of MS-13

MS-13 is a global gang which originates from Los Angeles and spreads through Central America. The title Mara Salvatrucha is derived from La Mara (a street in San Salvador) and Salvatrucha guerrillas - the fighters who participated in the Salvadoran Civil War (Mendez, 2019). The term "Salvatrucha" implies a peasant who has been trained to become a guerilla fighter amongst the Salvadorians (Rosen & Kassab, 2019). MS-13 has become a transitional terror group which is actively recruiting members, making it one of the largest fiercely street gang.

How MS-13 Turned Into a Terror Group

The primary objective of the MS-13 was to shield the Salvadorian immigrants from the existing gangs that were predominantly made up of Mexicans and African Americans (Mendez, 2019). Instead of protecting its members as a defense group from the frequent threats of the established gangs, MS-13 changed abruptly into a deadly street gang with a considerable following of around thirty thousand active members in different states (Mendez, 2019).

Hierarchy of MS-13

The cohesiveness of MS-13 is an outcome of a strict leadership hierarchy that the group has installed. On top of the hierarchy tree, there is a Council of Nine. The Council of Nine is responsible for making strategic decisions, appointing members, issuing orders, and managing the financial base of the group (Mendez, 2019). Clica leaders come second in the hierarchy tree of MS-13. They oversee the group's operation in the neighborhood by managing their subordinates with orders from the Council of Nine. The Clica leaders are paid heavily for the duties of the group (Rosen & Kassab, 2019).

Finance and special Ops take the third spot. They decide the financial allocation of each operation and carry out police killings. Hired assassins are fourth in the hierarchy. The killers are hired on a freelance basis and paid heavily (Mendez, 2019). The lowest levels are the extortions that do grocery shopping for the gang and in for mays who are not directly linked to the group but offer vital information to the group such as planned attacks by the police to the group (Mendez, 2019).

The Current Position of the MS-13

MS-13 has turned into a criminal-economic-political that threatens the peace of states in Honduras and El Salvador. The group has expanded into other countries such as Mexico and is estimated to have grown in number up to ninety thousand members in total (Mendez, 2019).

Devised Law to Eliminate MS-13

Introduce Amnesty Law and offer reconstructive short jail term. The MS-13 is currently disorganized and unable to manage the unlimited number in different states (Rosen & Kassab, 2019). In combating this deadly group, an Amnesty Law should be introduced, and the surrendering members offered training depending on their skills (Mendez, 2019).

Evaluation of the Combating Measure

The short jail training term of the surrendered members will lure the majority of them as they will be offered jobs upon completion of the training. Although the group members attack, rob, and kill, they have limited finances to show off their action (Rosen & Kassab, 2019). Offering practical training and counsel to the former members will attract others to abandon the deadly group leading to its elimination (Mendez, 2019).


MS-13 has been in existence for over three decades. The fatal is expanded I to other states with a structured leadership that manages it. In eliminating it, Amnesty Law and training need to be offered to lure those who surrender from the organization.


Mendez, M. J. (2019). The violence work of transnational gangs in Central America. Third World Quarterly, 40(2), 373-388.

Rosen, J. D., & Kassab, H. S. (2019). Gangs and Counter-Gang Strategies. In Drugs, Gangs, and Violence (pp. 91-116). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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Research Paper on MS-13: Salvadorian Group Formed by Ernesto Miranda in 1980s. (2023, Jan 16). Retrieved from

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