by Phillip D. Collins ©, March 10th, 2006

On the February 13, 2006 edition of MSNBC’s Live and Direct, Rita Cosby examined the growing street gang known as La Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 (no pagination). This criminal enterprise is transnational in scope, stretching from “El Salvador to Honduras to Guatemala to New Mexico, and now on U.S. soil” (no pagination). Infamous for their exceptionally violent methods, MS-13 has ascended to a prominent position in the criminal underworld. Rita Cosby elaborates:

The majority of MS-13 members are foreign-born and are frequently involved in human and drug smuggling and immigration violations. Like most street gangs, MS-13 members are also committed to such crimes as robbery, extortion, rape and murder. They also run a well-financed prostitution ring.

This notorious gang, best known for their violent methods, can now be found in 33 states, with an estimated 10,000 members and more than 40,000 in Central America. The FBI says MS-13 are the fastest growing and most violent of the nation’s street gangs. So much so, even other gangs fear them. (No pagination)

The gang’s membership also boasts a vicious array of skills:

What makes MS-13 so deadly is their skill with the machete, and most have had extensive military training in El Salvador, making them a double threat. The machete, typically used for cutting crops in El Salvador, is now the weapon of choice for this fearless gang. (No pagination)

Clearly, MS-13 is more than the average gang of thugs and miscreants. It is literally a terrorist network, peopled by skilled warriors and equipped with a paramilitary auxiliary. MS-13′s growth and development is hardly some inexplicable social phenomena. Reader’s Digest writer Sam Dealy reveals the chief facilitator of MS-13′s ascendance: “This is a problem that the federal government actually created” (no pagination). This is a very interesting claim. Just how did the United States create this burgeoning gang crisis? Dealy explains:

Our default policy throughout much of the past decade has been simply to, when you catch these guys, deport them. And they head back to Guatemala, or El Salvador, or Honduras, and weak states back there can’t control them. (No pagination)

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