In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence and extortion.
A wave of attacks against relatives of El Salvador's security forces serves as a reminder of gangs' willingness and ability to use targeted violence, but the spike in these killings contrasts with an overall trend of decreasing homicides in the Central American country.
Hip hop culture has long been associated with gangs, violence and vandalism. But a wide range of actors in Latin America are attempting to work past longstanding biases and challenges to experiment with these art forms as alternatives for at-risk youths who might otherwise engage in criminal activity.
Police chiefs from three different US counties impacted by the MS13 street gang spoke out about policies adopted by President Donald Trump's administration during a Senate hearing on May 24. All agreed that the policies will have a negative impact on the fight against the Mara Salvatrucha.
A six-week anti-gang operation headed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led to more than 1,300 arrests nationwide. But a breakdown of suspects' alleged affiliations suggests that recent rhetoric may not match reality when it comes to the threat of Latin America-linked gangs in the United States, particularly the MS13.