Four police officers are killed and four injured in a shootout in northern Honduras when members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang manage to free one of their leaders, Alexander Mendoza.
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Violent gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha or the Barrio 18, terrorize neighborhoods in El Salvador, forcing residents into exile. According to official estimates, there are some 70,000 gang members in El Salvador
Members of two of the world’s most feared gangs, El Salvador’s Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, prepare to reintegrate into society as they receive a range of classes in jail including DIY, music and knitting as part of a program known as “I Change.”
MS-13 has long been known as one of the deadliest street gangs in the world, but under the Trump administration, the fight against this criminal network of mostly Salvadoran young men, many of whom are immigrants, has ramped up dramatically.
MS-13 (or Mara Salvatrucha) wasn’t created in El Salvador; it was born in Los Angeles in the 1980s, founded by refugees from El Salvador’s civil war. In the 1980s, many of those gang members were deported back to El Salvador, where they quickly took advantage of the war-torn nation.
Now, with the Trump administration vowing to eliminate the gang at all costs, VICE News gained rare access inside the MS-13 underworld in El Salvador as they are hunted by police and rival gangs. Members told VICE News that the rhetoric from the White House has struck a nerve and warned there will be deadly consequences to the crackdown.
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