HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Identifies MS-13 Leadership

Guatemala Identifies MS-13 Leadership


An official investigation into the workings of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) in Guatemala paints a picture of a highly organized, hierarchical structure, centralized around a board of nine leaders who hand down instructions from prison.

The Anti-Extortion Unit of Guatemala’s Public Ministry has named nine leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) street gang in Guatemala, reported Prensa Libre, eight of them based in El Boqueron prison in Santa Rosa. (See list below.)

Together, the nine leaders form a committee that jointly makes decisions and gives orders to regional bosses on the outside via people who come to visit them in prison.

The "committee" ordered some 242 killings in a 14-month period between 2010 and 2011, according to investigators.

InSight Crime Analysis

The report portrays the MS-13 as a highly organized, hierarchical structure, in which each member has a clearly defined role. No member of the group can carry arms without authorization, or talk to members of rival group Barrio 18, and they must hand over all income from extortion rackets to the leadership.

The description of the group’s structure, and the fact that much of its activity is ordered directly by the central leadership, points to the potential impact that a government deal with gangs to cut violence could have in Guatemala. A gang truce in El Salvador, between the government, MS-13 and Barrio 18, has cut murders in half in the last year.

Alleged members of MS-13's Guatemalan central leadership committee:

Name Alias
Ronald Bosbely Choc Aleman El Sexy
Asencio Esquite Gonzalez El Cepy
Manuel Enrique Santizo Palala El Snoopy
Julio Ismael Ortiz Aguilar El Chapin
Carlos Antonio de Leon Ramirez El Gato
Jaime Noe Lira Morales El Huevon
Amilcar Galindo Torres Rosales El Garrobo
Edgar Eduardo Salazar Santana El Espydy
Other - unnamed
share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


Guatemalan airport authorities seized their second large shipment of heroin in a week, giving further evidence that Guatemala may be…


Authorities have uncovered that an eastern coastal region of Guatemala, known to be a cocaine corridor, has been used in…

BARRIO 18 / 9 AUG 2012

The director of El Salvador’s National Forensic Institute (IML) announced that the number of murders had risen sharply in the…

About InSight Crime


Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…


InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…


Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…


Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…


Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…