Amanda Gorgenson, Ian McElfish,
Julie Schulcz, Keegan Butters, Kenya
Davis, Kyle Butts, Steven Dutcher, and
Michael McCoy.
El Salvador (meaning “The Savior” in Spanish):
 Population: 7.2 million people
 ~90% Mestizo (European/Indigenous heritage)
San Salvador
 Capital/Largest City
 Average of 11 murders a day
Large corruption problem within government and with police
of the country
San Salvador government vs. Farabundo Martí
National Liberation Front (FMLN).
 Left a violent impact on the youth that were left
behind from parents who fled El Salvador at the
beginning of the Civil War
 War was in the context of the cold war
 Fight against communism
75,000 killed
Approx. 700,000 refugees fled to U.S.
MS-13 (Mara-Salvatrucha 13)
› “Mara” (meaning “gang” in Spanish)
“Salvatrucha” (term used to honor Salvadoran
peasants trained as guerilla fighters)
 13 (“trece” Spanish for 13)
 Honors the Mexican Mafia signifying
the thirteenth letter of the alphabet “M”
Created in Los Angeles during 1980’s
High propensity for violence
 Kill a member of the 18’s
 13 count beat in “uno, dos,
 May last longer than 13 seconds
depending on how well you are liked by
the gang
 Sexed In (women only)
Biggest and fastest growing gang on the planet
18th Street
18th Street Gang (Barrio 18)
› Gang created in Los Angeles in 1959
› Extremely Violent
› Rivalry between 18’s and MS-13
› Initiation
 Kill a member of MS-13
 18 count beat in
 Women no longer allowed to be
initiated in as new recruits
Outnumbered by MS-13
Developed to protect refugees of El
Salvador from other gangs already
established in Los Angeles.
Gangs based off racial prejudices
These racial tensions were present
amongst all races of newly arrived
New immigration laws in US
 1990’s
 New laws led to deportation of
illegal immigrants for even
minor convictions in the US
 This return of gang members
gave way to a new platform for
the gangs to recruit new
The deportation of these gang
members led to a newly established
gang population in the war-torn El
Salvadoran streets
The tensions between MS-13 and the
18’s are so strong that each member
obligated to kill any and all opposing
gang members that they encounter on
or off of their territories known as
“clickas” or “barrios”
The games are organized in a
decentralized fashion of “clickas”
Insubordination to fulfill missions of
robbing or killing can result in brutal
beating of 13 or 18 counts respectively
Also grounds to be killed by ones
own gang
Extortion and Racketeering of local
Offer protection in exchange for “taxes”
Drug Trafficking
Crack Cocaine
Powder Cocaine HCL
Identity Documentation Forgery
Human trafficking
Gang member are not a permitted to
sell drugs for personal usage to their
own members they commonly refer
to as “homeboys”.
 Reason being that drug addicts
may wander into enemies
territory looking for more drugs
and get killed
Disobedience to this can result in
gang beatings of 13 or 18 counts
Gang members in the United States
are given orders in regards to
killings or other gang related
businesses from higher ranking
members living in El Salvador
shades of red represent
stronger presence within region
presence in regions
throughout the world
world’s fastest growing
30,000-40,000 members
•22,00 members in El Salvador
sets are controlled by shotcallers who collect “taxes” from both
their businesses and other members of
the gang with lower rankings.
MS-13 (cont.)
members of
MS-13 commonly
have tattoos all over
their bodies
representing their
loyalty to the gang
Approx. 12,000 members in El
Growing international gang with
known presence in 32 US states
18th Street has a structure made up
of “ranfla” (national leaders),
“runers” (leaders with no tattoos,
strong discipline, and the
responsibility for committing
homicides, and trafficking drugs
and weapons), and missionaries
(clickas gang members).
18th Street Gang
are also easily
identified by gang
•Tattoos enable
them to represent
their gang for life
Gangs of El Salvador
MS-13 and 18’s have
women in the gangs that are
just as active as the men
•New gang rules imposed by
top 18th street gang leaders
state that women are not
allowed to be initiated as new
recruits anymore
MS-13 and the 18’s can be
found in almost all
Central American
countries, and within a
majority of the United
Extremely violent and
willing to kill anyone
perceived as either a
threat or rival gang
Rise in gangs, violence & drug trafficking
began in the early 1980s
Neglect of the poor neighborhoods during
Brazils dictatorship period lead to the rise of
Brazilian government used a form of
isolation and exclusion of favelas from
major cities
Many people turned to gangs for protection
Drug trafficking helped many gangs rise to
Police have more difficulty entering poor
neighborhoods due to the rise in gangs and the
distrust in law enforcement
Corrupt law officials helped strengthen the
dominance of gangs
Today inadequate governmental officials, a
lack of resources to address the socioeconomic
problems and a insufficient law enforcement
force allow gangs to still be around and in
Amigos dos Amigos
Comando Vermelho (Red Command)
Tarceiro Comando Puro (Pure Third
Primeiro Comando da Capital (First Capital
Capixaba Mafia
Grew out of conflict
between the Red
Command and the
Pure Third
Controls North and
West zones of Rio de
Janeiro (Rocinha)
Drugs critical source
of power & wealth
Largest and oldest organized gang
in Brazil
Established in Rio de Janeiro in
Major trafficker of weapons and
Began as a gang in Cândido
Mendes prison
 Had very strict code of conduct
for members
 Punishments (such as death) for
 Maintain control this way
Originally composed of members
of the Falange Vermelha (Red
This militant group was strong in
it’s fight against the Brazilian
military dictatorship (1964 to 1985)
Originally founded by
dissidents of the Red
therefore these two gangs
are major rivals
Fighting between gangs
often occurs for
supremacy in the slums
and throughout the
extensive prison system
in Brazil
 360,000 prisoners (4th
largest in the world)
 922 prisons
Founded August 31, 1993, in
Taubate Prison in Sao Paulo
Began as prison gang, but
transformed into a terrorist
criminal organization
Members utilize a “baptism” ritual
as means of induction into the
gang, similar to the Mafia
organizations within the U.S.
Goals of the PCC were outlined in
the group's sixteen point manifesto
written in 1993
 To fight injustice and
oppression in the prison system
 To maintain strict discipline
among members
 To expand beyond Sao Paulo
prisons to national spotlight
Criminal organization from the
Espírito Santo state of Brazil
A person born in this state is known
as a “Capixaba” which literally
translates to “Holy Spirit”
Specializes generally in moneylaundering endeavors
People are
terrified to walk
the streets at any
are marked with
violence and
violation of
human rights
Violence in the
favelas increases
when police try to
take action
There has been a crackdown on corrupt officers in the recent
 More than 33 officers arrested
The clean up operation, taken place w/ the government forces
 Equally severe law enforcement strategy directly targeting
drug gangs
Government seeking to re-establish control over the urban
slums by sending in special operations force
Government improving living conditions of slums so people
can stop depending on gangs
Dealing with financial pressures from the state and bribes and
threats from drug traffickers make it extremely difficult for
leaders to take stand against the local gangs
Government is making progress in clearing Brazil of its gangs
 Rid over 3 dozen communities in Rio de Janeiro of its drug
gangs and installed permanent police forces
In order to reduce corrupt officials, many
are purposely recruited right out of the
police academy (before any bribes can be
Many Brazilians are contributing to a social
movement for political change
Brazilian artist are coming up with
compositions to support Brazils movement
to eliminate gangs and drug trafficking
Raise awareness of socioeconomic issues of their
country in their demand for change
Gangs of Peru: Overview
History and Formation of Peruvian Gangs
Peru’s Political and Socioeconomic Conditions
Current Events on Peruvian Gangs
There are hundreds of Peruvian
gangs that have thousands of
members affiliated to them.
Most Peruvian gangs are found
within the regions of Peru’s major
cities: Lima, Huancayo, Trujillo,
Arequipa, Cusco, Chimbote,
Chiclayo, Iquitos, and Huamanga.
Lima is the capital and largest city
of Peru, so the vast majority of
Peruvian gangs will migrate and
establish themselves here.
Peruvian gangs engage in all kinds
of criminal activities such as drug,
human and weapon trafficking,
money laundering, terrorism,
violence, and guerilla warfare.
Not a whole lot of research is done on
Peruvian gangs in particular, so research
and data can be difficult to find.
Police have difficulty obtaining data and
statistics for many Peruvian gangs since
there’s so many of them out there. Only
the larger, more notorious gangs are
noticed by police and civilians.
Peruvian gangs vary from guerilla
organizations, to street gangs, to youthoriented gangs. Street gang members
typically range from 13-24 years of age,
while youth-oriented gangs mostly
involve children and teens 8-16 years old.
Initiation into Peruvian gangs include the
same criteria that most other gangs
follow across the globe. This includes
blood-in, beat-in, jump-in, assault,
murder, rape, and blood-out.
Street Level – Los Pandillas, Malditos de
Castilla, Bandas, Los Alamos, Latin
Kings, Los Diablos, Cirujanos, La
Muralla, and Los Pishtakos are some of
the more famous Peruvian Street gangs.
Youth Gangs (Street Children) - Pájaro
frutero, and pirañitas. These particular
gangs work in packs by stalking their
prey and mugging them in groups. The
victims become overwhelmed and end up
losing anything in their possession.
Guatemala has long since been known as one
of the most violent countries in the region of
Latin America, as well as the world.
The Homicide rate in 2008 was 48 murders per
100,000 people, in contrast with the 5.7
murders per 100,000 people in the United
The most widely accepted reason for the
abundance of gangs throughout Guatemala is
the United States.
In the 1970’s and 80’s many family’s fled to the
United States to escaped a war torn country.
Once there, many of the children got involved
in gangs.
The United States then started to deport
Guatemalans, many of which thrived on the gang
culture in the United States, more specifically Los
Because many were unable to speak Spanish or
adapt to the new life style, they set up new gangs
in Guatemala which have evolved into new strains
and spilled over to more countries.
Most gangs make their money by self-styled
taxes, in which they levy from bus-drivers,
shopkeepers, homeowners, and young
neighborhood girls.
They are also involved in robbery, extortion,
drug dealing, human trafficking, and wars
with rival gangs
On average, gang members are initiated
between the years of 14 and 15.
Estimates cite that there are anywhere from
8,000 to 14,000 gang members throughout the
The two largest gangs prevalent in Guatemala
are the Mara Slavatrucha (MS-13) and the
Barrio 18 (18th street gang).
The 18th street gang account for 15% of all gang
members throughout the country.
MS-13 makes up 95 percent of the gang
members within the country.
Both gangs were originally started in Los
In 2008, 229 bus drivers, and taxi drivers were
killed by gang members for not paying
extortion costs.
More recently, due to Mexico’s war on drugs, many
Mexican gangs have crossed into Guatemala.
One particular drug gang, known as Los Zetas have
crossed into Guatemala ravaging the city and the
This gang is known as “a group of Mexican military
deserters…who have kidnapped, tortured and
murdered—including beheadings of law enforcement
officials, innocent citizens, informants and rival drug
In 2004, American and Guatemalan diplomats
created a prevention program called “Tell it to
This program would create a corruption free police
force, crime information system. It would also
create an anonymous system for crime reporting.
To increase safety measures for public
transportation, the government recently
implemented a new system where passengers have
tickets to board, and the drivers carry no cash with
Recently, the President has declared a state of
siege, and is escalating a war against drug
traffickers, more specifically against the Los
The state of siege curtails citizen liberties and
allows the military to order anyone suspected
of conspiring against the government to be
arrested ad imprisoned without warrant
The campaign to eradicate the gangs is known
as “limpieza social”, or social cleansing.
This type of social cleansing has become so
prevalent in Guatemala that many young
people say it’s become dangerous to even look
like you belong to a gang.
Many gang members have also eradicated the
use of colors, symbols and tattoos to identify
them within the gang.
Currently, the gang causing most problems
within the country is Los Zetas.
Recently, they stormed a remote jungle ranch
and killed 27 people, beheading 25 of them.
This gangs expanded into Guatemala after
murdering a local drug boss. They have
recruited many Guatemalan soldiers, and
many poor, indigenous citizens have also
signed up.
Their priority is to move large scale drugs from
Colombia, to Mexico and eventually to the
United States.
It is very important to regain control of
Guatemala from the gangs, if it ever wants to
become a prosperous country.
“Guatemala is a very violent country. This,
sadly, is our cultural response: an eye for an
eye.” – longtime Human Rights monitor.
Los Paisas begins with the paramilitary and their
offer from the Colombian Government called the
Justice and Peace Law.
The Justice and Peace Law allows paramilitary
soldiers to lay down their weapons for no serious
punishment, even though they have taken
thousands of Colombian lives and helped in drug
The goal of the Colombian Government was to
demobilize the Paramilitary that was originally
created in the 1960’s to help with human right
•Highlighted areas are where
Los Pasias can be found.
•The gang can is now considered
an independent drug trafficking
Due to their Northern location by the Atlantic
and Pacific Ocean there are rival gangs fighting
for the same territory due to excellent coca
growing and trafficking location.
These rival gangs consist of Los Rastrojos, Los
Urabeños and Los Aguilas Negras.
Due to rival gangs being a close facility
homicide rates have increased in northern
Los Paisas relies highly on recruiting young
members and have them murder enemies as
well as Los Paisas family members to instill
Cesar Augusto Torres Lujan was the leader of
Los Paisas until the Colombian Police killed
him in 2010.
Even though the death of Cesar Augusto
Torres Lujan Los Paisas is still an active gang in
The most dangerous gang in Venezuela
•The Tupamaro or Tupas are a Venezuelan
“gang” based out the countries capitol city of
•The Tupas blur the lines between street
gang and terrorist organization, they
resemble more of a hybrid between street
gang and a vigilante militia.
•They are known to be politically connected
to some of the most powerful politicians in
•Tupas show many similarities to groups like
Hamas in Lebanon and Palestine, or the KKK
in the early 20th Century
Venezuela’s Capitol is the
birthplace of the Tupas and
continues to serve as the gangs
The name Tuparmos comes from
a Uruguayan communist group of
the same name, who were forced
into exile in the 1970‘s.
Some fled to the neighborhood of
“23 de Enero” A ghetto in
The Venezuelan Tupas
emergence as an identifiable
group took place during the
1980’s when attacks on drug
dealers began in “23 de Enero“.
The gang targets youth who have grown up in or near
“23 de Enero” many of whom have family ties with the
area or the Tupas themselves.
Some members join the Tupas because the gang’s
influence and political ties can all but guarantee a
government subsidized employment.
Many other join the Tupamaro simply for protection,
Caracas is one of the world most dangerous cities with
a murder rate twice that in Iraq.
In 2005 the Tupas even went as far to organize a large
hip-hop concert near “23 de Enero” free to the public.
The Tupas conduct criminal activities much like
extortion, protection rackets, prostitution, and
They also act as an vigilante goon squad on behalf of
their political patrons.
In 2002 the Tupas were blamed for attacks carried out
on police with high powered rifles, to “persuade” the
Supreme Court to rule in again some of their
opponents in a rebellion trial.
Tupamaros were also responsible a 2006 attack on
American ambassador William Brownfield, there
men on motorbikes attempted to surround his car,
and light it on fire.
Scores of murders are attributed to the Tupas,
everyone from rival gang members, to people who
simply refuse to pay “rent” for living in the
As the gang grows it has begun to move into
assassinations, mainly of rival political threats.
Tupas are of course constantly battling police
in their Caracas slums
The gang is also often at odds with other leftist
groups such as the CRA, Red Flags, and the
Accion Democratia
As well as other rival street gangs
Hugo Chavez allied himself with
the Tupas during his
incarceration for his failed coup
in 1992.
The Tupas strongest ally, the
Fifth Republic Movement, from
1997 - 2008 this was the political
party of Hugo Chavez
A lot of their support also comes
from the Communist Party of
In 2008 the Fifth Republic
Movement, merged with several
smaller leftist groups as well as
politically connected members of
the Tupas to create the United
Socialist Party of Venezuela,
headed by Hugo Chavez.
The Tupamaro are an armed and politically
active leftist group who control much of the
western side of Caracas.
The Tupa also enjoy the benefits that come
from being very well connected, bordering on
state sponsorship
The earlier Mexico gangs were for the most
part located in border towns close to the United
States, where drug addicts, prostitutes,
bootleggers and a lot of people involved with
extortion resided.
Mexican drug cartels expanded their reach first
south rather than immediately into the United
States: down throughout Central and South
Columbia is basically controlled by many
South American gangs, but they must
do business with the Mexican cartels to
transport drugs to the United States or
anywhere else north.
The Northern Mexico gangs hold the most
power because their location is the most
important geographical region for trafficking.
The most powerful drug
cartels in Mexico where the
Arellano Felix gang of Tijuana,
the Juarez organization in
Ciudad Juarez, the West Coastbased Sinaloa consortium and
the Reynosa based Gulf Cartel,
all because of their location .
In order for gangs or cartels to
transport their drugs to the
United States they had to deal
with these Mexican cartels.
Cartels would constantly battle
it out over the routes to the
United States, especially in the
late 1960s and early 1970s
when cocaine and marijuana in
the United States became
extremely desired
In 2007, Mexico's police stepped up enforcement,
crushing many gang cells responsible for 2,000
murders in 2006 .
Police and gangs were battling it out in gang
territory, but this violence also spread into public
areas causing a massive uproar from the public.
Disney is one of the world’s largest businesses, and
their cruise ships as well as other companies refuse
to make any stops to the former popular Mazatlan,
because of known gang violence.
Mexico's street gangs are very
similar to the United States
street gangs because they
both have similar intentions
and goals of robbery,
violence, theft, drug sales,
drug abuse, and of course
Although Mexico’s street
gangs and United States
street gangs are very similar,
they also have some major
differences. The most
profound difference between
the two types of gangs would
be that many of Mexico’s
street gangs are controlled by
cartels and do whatever the
drug cartels tell them to.
Street gangs in the United
States are typically
More than 1,000 kidnappings were carried out in
Mexican kidnap gangs have armored vehicles that
are bulletproof, technology that can jam cameras,
and a crew with snipers, spies, or whatever it takes
to make a clean kidnap
Some of the ones being kidnapped may be rich
kids and the gang may want a large sum of money
from the family, but others are extremely high
profile and the one who the gang wants to kidnap
may have body guards and or other security
personnel to prevent a kidnapping or murder from
The past five years the
Mexican gang violence has
seemed to unfortunately
increase dramatically.
The rivalry for power and
for territorial grounds has
caused crazy wars and
battles between these gangs
and police as well.
This huge problem of gang
and police violence has
made its way into the
United States.
Recent news is the
stealing of oil in Mexico
by Mexican drug cartels.
This has been a problem
for quite some time, but it
was recently became a
rapidly spreading theft.
The cartels have been
tapping into the country’s
pipelines to steal as much
as $715 million in oil
The gangs sell the stolen
fuel to corrupt
manufacturers or trucking
firms, or sell it to foreign
refiners for a much lower
The number of pipeline
taps has increased since
2004, from 102 then to 462
last year.
They are fixing the oil pipeline
where drug cartels were
getting some of their oil from.
Gangs in Ecuador started to become popular in the
Quito and Guayaquil are the two providences with the
most gang activity
Guayaquil is known to be the most dangerous city in
Recently, the number of gang members has risen due
to qualitative and quantitative reasons.
There has been an increasing number of young people
in Ecuador involved in gangs
Coming and going of members is highly regulated
Many members have connections to the government
(mostly those responsible for security) which makes
carrying out crimes easier
Pandillas: local urban youth gangs
Naciones (Latin Kings): organized national youth gangs
Naciones (Latin Kings)
Duenos de la Calle
Ecuador has a population of about 14.3 million
since 2010
About 1,000 gangs in Gauyaquil alone
In 2002 there were about 65,00 known youth
involved in street gangs in Ecuador
The average age of youth joining gangs is 13
There is an average of 18.33 murders per
100,000 population
The most important institution
created to help the government of
Ecuador fight gangs is the SER
PAZ foundation, an international
foundation that specializes in
problems of youth and violence
From that foundation came a
project called the Peace
Neighborhood (Barrio de Paz) that
has been a process in the city of
Guayaquil since 2005.
The project is an agreement
between five gangs and the rest of
the community for coexistence in
49 blocks of Guayaquil
First step is handing over
weapons, then setting up
communities for former gang
members .
Not everyone complies but there
has been a 60% reduction of crime
rate in the Peace Neighborhood