A new documentary by the National Geographic Channel examines how a Los Angeles street gang has spread globally, the Christian Science Monitor reports. L.A. gang members have near-celebrity status in other parts of the country and the world because of their their California connection, and U.S. law enforcement’s stepped-up deportation of illegal immigrants involved in crimes has unwittingly helped broaden the gang’s reach. “Chapters” or “cliques” affiliated with MS-13 have been tracked to 33 US states and six foreign countries.
Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, is a relatively new Los Angeles-based gang, but experts in the documentary call its “viral” growth alarming. As newly deported gang members find each other in their home countries, new “chapters” of the gang have popped up from Honduras to Spain. Central American countries in particular have been blindsided by this new American export – killings in the streets and entire neighborhoods under the control of an MS-13 “clique,” as local sub-groups call themselves.