Though the mere mention of the MS13 still conjures an image of warring, tattooed gang members, the reality is that the group now functions more like a mafia. This week, InSight Crime wraps up an investigation that goes inside the MS13’s activities in four countries: Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. 

The series begins near the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, where the gang has turned a massive trash dump into a recycling bonanza. We then reveal its grip on a neighborhood in El Salvador, where it controls fleets of vehicles, distributes fuel and sells bottled water. In Guatemala, the gang has shallower roots compared with neighboring countries, but its name still draws poor young men willing to carry out its dictates. The series ends in Mexico, where a longtime gang leader has built a “program” to profit from smuggling migrants – and his fellow gang members – north. 

A product of myriad interviews, the series tells the recent history of this notorious street gang through the voices of members themselves.

SEE ALSO: MS13 & Co.

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