How the MS-13 Gang Operates in LA: Extortion Rackets, Drug Sales for Mexican Sinaloa Cartel

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - May 19, 2017, 5:27 pm
MS-13 has an active role in extorsion and drug trafficking throughout Los Angeles (
MS-13 has an active role in extortion and drug trafficking throughout Los Angeles (Taringa).


The MS-13 gang has at least 1,200 members in Los Angeles, who are known as “mareros.” It is widely considered to be the most violent and dangerous criminal group in the southern California city where the organization was founded in 1980 and has been in the public eye since Wednesday, when police arrested 42 of its key leaders in 50 simultaneous raids conducted around the city.

According to a report by Mexican authorities, the MS-13 gang distributes drugs sold by the Sinaloa Cartel. Key memebers heading up the operation include Carlos Zepeda, aka “Blackie” and Antonio Meza, who, according to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), was captured in the recent operation.

Another means of funding for this criminal organization is extortion of street vendors, medical marijuana stores, and other businesses. One of the victims, who was forced to pay “protection money,” was the owner of a restaurant in the San Fernando Valley.

In the federal indictment, they note: “On or about March 22, 2015, the defendant (Juan) Herrera (among the detainees this week) attempted to extort victim MA, owner of the Cali Viejo restaurant (in Van Nuys), located within the territory of the MS-13, demanding that he pay a ‘tax’ to the gang.”

Interestingly, the MS-13 gang and other similar associations are alleged to themselves pay “taxes” to the Mexican Mafia, known as “La Eme”: a percentage of the sale of drugs, weapons, robberies and other illegal acts. According to federal reports, these criminal groups are not opposed to such payments.

MS-13 has developed a close relationship with the Mexican Mafia since one of its members, Nelson Comandari, was identified as the head of “La Eme.” The authorities consider him to be “the CEO” of the gang. Currently he has been in a federal prison since 2006.

“Comandari was arrested for trafficking in drugs and for other crimes in California, Texas, and New York,” said Gabe Morales, a gang expert and author of books on “La Eme.”

Morales also details that apparently in recent years, Comandari turned his back on the criminal organization as he “became an informant” for US authorities.

Many MS-13 members are in the country illegally, and Trump has made it a cornerstone of his immigration policy to deport those with criminal records.

Source: Univision Noticias

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.

Senator Marco Rubio: US Aid for Colombia Peace Deal Shouldn’t Finance FARC Guerrilla, Promote Impunity

By: Felipe Fernández - @Ffernandezp - May 19, 2017, 4:58 pm

EspañolFlorida Senator Marc Rubio expressed his concern over the Santos-FARC peace deal this week following Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos' visit with US President Donald Trump. In an op-ed published in The Miami Herald, the senator said bilateral relations with the United States and Colombia has become one of the most important in the western hemisphere. He described the situation in Colombia in the 1990s and US support for returning the rule of law there. "In the late 1990s, Colombia was nearly a failed state, devastated by conflicts with drug cartels and terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But U.S.-Colombian cooperation over the past 16 years empowered the nation to diminish the threat of narcoterrorism and drug-related violence, restore the rule of law, and revive its economy." He said Colombia should continue with "Plan Colombia," which includes a coalition against terrorism and narcotics that should help ensure stability in the country. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); He acknowledged Colombia's effort to achieve peace, but expressed his concern about the deficiencies of the Santos-FARC peace agreement. "I am concerned about shortcomings in the deal, which could allow FARC guerrillas to escape justice, and grant amnesty to those responsible for war crimes," he said. In addition, he said he objects to the fact that the peace deal was rejected by Colombians in a referendum, yet was pushed anyway with legislation. "The wisdom of the peace accord is up to the Colombian people, who can hold their democratically elected leaders accountable at the ballot box next year," he wrote. "Meanwhile, the FARC must be held accountable for their history of violence and oppression. The Republican senator said the "Peace Colombia" plan must be subject to certain conditions. Read More: EU Requests Venezuela to Respect Citizens’ Rights and Hold Elections Read More: Venezuelan Opposition Holds Nationwide Sit-down to Protest Dictatorship "American taxpayer dollars should never be used to compensate the FARC," he wrote. He also expressed his belief that FARC commander Simon Trinidad must serve a full sentence in a federal prison, and that convicted FARC members should also be held accountable for their crimes. "For any peace accord to endure, it must be supported by a majority of the Colombian people and bring genuine justice to the victims of the countless atrocities committed by the FARC." He concluded by expressing his belief that peace in Colombia requires a commitment from the United States. Source: Miami Herald

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