Members of the notorious MS-13 gang are now trying to escape detection by scrapping the trademark tattoos that have long marked gang members. Instead, MS-13 is taking on a clean-cut look, according to a new report.
The Washington Examiner said it had interviewed federal and local law enforcement officials about the evolution of the gang. It did not identify them by name in the report, published Wednesday.
“The idea they have tattoos from feet to head, that’s not happening anymore,” a senior official at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was quoted as saying.
Traditionally, the more ink a gang member had, the higher his rank.
The “new norm,” the ICE official said, is an MS-13 member who is “clean-cut, well-spoken, and [has] zero ink on his body.”
The Examiner, quoting two Northern Virginia Gang Task Force officials, said the gang hands out beatings to mark key points, from initiation to promotion.
“MS is broken down into cliques, even though they all fly under the banner of MS, they are different cliques. Different cliques mean different rules, so some cliques may beat you every time you get promoted to a different rank,” one task force official said.
“Every time you make a rank, you get beaten for 13 seconds,” the official said.
The four ranks in the gang were named as “paro,” “observation,” “chequeo” and “homeboy.”
“While the purple bruises remain a part of the initiation and promotion process, the black ink is not being imparted on up-and-coming members because they are an easy giveaway of their gang affiliation to people on the street, including members of other gangs who might retaliate if they think someone is dealing drugs or recruiting in an area run by a different gang,” the Examiner reported.
The report said MS-13 is diversifying its revenue stream.
“Their number one crime for money is narcotics,” the ICE official said.
In Northern Virginia, the report said, human trafficking and forced labor have become profitable lines of gang operations.
MS-13 has left a trail of violence across America.
Earlier this month, an MS-13 gang member received a sentence of 20 years in prison for his role in a machete attack in Irving, Texas, the Justice Department announced.
In Maryland, a 20-year-old man is being charged in connection with a 2017 homicide involving a machete, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Illegal MS-13 Gang Member Gets 20 Years for Deadly Machete Attack #MS13
“An illegal alien MS-13 gang member has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his involvement in a machete attack that left one woman dead….”https://t.co/OCxxwdNirw
— judy morris (@judymorris3) November 21, 2019
“Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities — including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl,” he said.
“The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they’re going to keep streaming back in,” Trump said, adding, “Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.”
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