MS-13 Expansion and Hierarchy

I recently read an article (the link to which is provided below) which reported on a relatively recent work by Douglas Farah and Pamela Phillips Lum. The work addressed Central American gangs and transnational criminal organizations. The author of the article, Howard Koplowitz, stated that the MS-13 gang has been attempting to spread its influence into many countries such as Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Spain. The article claims that the gang is purposefully utilizing deportation to spread its existence. The article claims that MS-13 members, when arrested, falsely declare a specific country to be that member’s country of origin. The United States judicial system, having limited evidence to verify this information, often deports those individuals to the specified country. According to the article, the deported gang member starts up his own clique.” Apparently, these MS-13 operatives are “also given a stipend as compensation.”

This article is extremely interesting as it reveals some of the operations of the MS-13 gang. Specifically, this article deals with expansion efforts of the gang. It is very surprising and ingenious that the gang purposefully utilizes deportation to give certain members a free ride to other countries. Furthermore, it is compelling that these members are paid for such services. What is very interesting about this article is the fact that, if this evidence is accurate, than it reveals some of the hierarchical elements of the MS-13 gang. With purposeful and coordinated deportations of members to other countries with the intent to extend gang influence, and a paid service for such deportation operations, the hierarchically aspect of MS-13 is revealed to be much more sophisticated than many had believed. An existence of coordinated deportation and expansion operations hints at the existence of a central command group that heads the MS-13 gangs. This information further helps classify MS-13 as an organized crime group, although the purpose and mission of the gang still differentiates it from many other criminal organizations such as cartels.