How MS-13 Accepts Members And Settles In-House Fights Will Shock You

REUTERS/Ulises Rodriguez

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
Font Size:

MS-13 thugs in Boston ask recruits to kill rival gangsters and then submit themselves to a savage beating before they become members of the gang, according to

Court documents in Boston paint a grim picture of the way the international gang, with roots in El Salvador, recruits. FBI Special Agent Jeffrey E. Wood Jr. said via affidavit that “chequos” — MS-13 associates — can become “homeboys” — full members — only after a lengthy process.

A chequo must kill an enemy gangster of interest to the MS-13 local affiliate they are declaring their loyalty to. Once the murder has been verified, they hold a vote on membership. If the chequo has enough votes for membership, “leaders would slowly count to 13 while gang members beat the prospective member,” according to Wood.

Once the pummeling comes to a painful end, the thugs “say ‘welcome to the Mara’ and hold up the devil horn hand signs,” according to Wood. The beatings are not only the way someone is welcomed to the gang, but are also a form of punishment for a variety of “violations.”

In the dark world of MS-13, a violation could be “missing meetings, to being drunk in public and pulling out a gun, to losing clique property.” The ritual of membership initiation is taken so seriously that if there aren’t enough gangsters in a clique, thugs from other cliques join in for a day to take the vote and perform the communal vote and beating.

MS-13 is the only street gang to have been designated a Transnational Criminal Organization by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It was founded in the 1980s in Los Angeles by Central American refugees mostly from El Salvador and Honduras.

Follow JP on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact