They're a violent force in 33 states and counting. Mara Salvatrucha. the gang has a uniquely international profile, with an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 members in 33 states in the United States (out of more than 700,000 gang members overall)It's considered the fastest-growing, most violent and least understood of the nation's street gangs. MS-13 got started in Los Angeles in the 1980s by Salvadorans fleeing a civil war. Many of the kids grew up surrounded by violence.
gang members armed with machetes hacked away at a member of the South Side Locos, slicing off some of his fingers and leaving others dangling by a shred of skin. Only a week later in Herndon, a member of the 18th Street gang was pumped full of .38-caliber bullets, while his female companion, who tried to flee, was shot in the back. The assailant, according to a witness, had a large tattoo emblazoned on his forehead. It read MS,"MS 13"