You may not have heard of them but Mara Savatrucha (aka MS-13) are easily one of the largest and most fear criminal gangs in the world. Spread across continental US, El Salvador, Honduras & even Guatemala their membership has swollen to well over 50,000 members. Particularly in the US where they first rose to prominence, local Los Angeles police regularly deport immigrant Salvadoran gang members back to El Salvador -a case of shifting the problem from one area to another. As a result of deportation, cities like San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador) are now home to some of the highest rates of violent crime and murder in the world.
That’s what happens when you basically put some of the world’s most deadly individuals on the same turf. Calle 18 is another infamous gang embroiled in drug trafficking, violent crime and murders. When behind bars they are kept seperate from rival gang MS-13 to avoid prison riots, yet outside without the law to keep them in check they too roam the streets of El Salvador fighting over turf and distribution areas. Here’s several confronting images of gang members in penitentiaries, much like their Russian counterparts their tattoos signify their alliance to particular groups, facitions and cliques within the criminal community – a brotherhood of those for whom the law does not apply.