Sureños (Spanish for "Southerners") are a group of Mexican American street gangs with origins in the oldest barrios of Southern California. There are hundreds of Sureño gangs in California, and each has its own identity on the streets. Although they are based in Southern California, their influence has spread to various parts of the U.S. and other countries as well. The term “sureños” describes gangs professing allegiance to a gang set in southern California. The term was first used in the 1970s as a result of a California prison war between the Mexican Mafia (La EME) and Nuestra Familia (NF). This war resulted in a territorial division between gang members from northern California (norteños = northerners) who aligned with NF, and those from southern California (sureños = southerners) aligned with La EME.
Sureños emblems and clothing are based on the color blue. A typical Sureño outfit might include, blue, silver, and white and their favorite sports team apparel that shows their affiliation. Sureños use the number 13 in tattoos and graffiti. It is sometimes written as "X3” or in Roman numerals as "XIII" (Sur13 or Sur XIII). Some Sureños will tattoo themselves with three dots. Sureños derogatorily refers to a Norteño as a "Buster" or "Chap" (Chapete).
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