18th Street

Mara Salvatrucha

Also known as



Name meaning

Refers to 18th Street
in Los Angeles

Mara: gang
Salvatrucha: slang for Salvadoran
13: letter M’s order in the alphabet


Mexican youth

Salvadoran immigrants

Hand sign

18th Street hand sign

"E" for 18

Mara Salvatrucha hand sign

Influenced by
heavy metal music

Original colors

Black and silver colors

Black, silver
Like the Oakland Raiders

Blue and white colors

Blue, white
Like the Salvadorian flag

U.S. membership
2009 estimates


8 - 10,000

U.S. deportation of undocumented immigrants exported the gangs and resulting violence into Central America.

A map of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras

Central America membership
2012 estimates

Bar chart showing gang population numbers for Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras

SOURCE: Congressional Research Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Rocky Mountain Information Network; U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime; U.S. Department of the Treasury.