Gangs in Central America [May 10, 2005]   [open pdf - 43KB]

From the Summary: "In the past year, there has been increasing attention by the press and policymakers on the effects of crime and gang violence in Central America, and its spillover effects on the United States. The February 2005 arrest of some 103 members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang in several cities across the United States ' including a man charged in connection with a December 2004 bus massacre in Honduras that killed 28 people ' raises concerns about the transnational activities of Central American gangs. Citizens in several Central American countries have identified crime and gang violence among the top issues of popular concern, and Honduras and El Salvador have recently enacted tough anti-gang legislation. Gang violence may threaten political stability, inhibit social development, and discourage foreign investment in Central America. Many analysts predict that illicit gang activities may accelerate illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and trafficking in persons and weapons to the United States. Some analysts maintain that contact between gang members in both regions is increasing, and that this tendency may serve to increase gang-related violent crime in the United States. Others assert that unless the root causes of gang violence, which include poverty, joblessness, and the social exclusion of at-risk youth, are addressed in a holistic manner, the problem will continue to escalate. This report will be updated periodically."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS22141
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
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