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


Central American undocumented migrants are shifting to maritime transportation, according to a recent report, likely as a result of Mexico's…


Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will create a special task force charged with confronting the Zetas, said President Alvaro Colom,…


Guatemala police have arrested seven people for extorting an estimated $500,000 from bus drivers in the capital city, highlighting an…

About InSight Crime


Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…


InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…


Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…


Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…


Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…