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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This segment originally aired Sept. 14, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.