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Researcher: MS-13 more violent and controlling in El Salvador than US

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — An ASU professor has been studying the violence of MS-13 in the U.S. and in El Salvador.

The street gang started in Los Angeles, but spread to El Salvador after its civil war.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time talking to MS-13 members in Central America, and folks who are being deported from the United States to El Salvador,” criminal justice professor Charles Katz said.

In his research, Katz has also found MS-13 is far more violent and controlling in El Salvador because of that country’s lax legal system.

“Our work originally started out of fear that MS-13 was transporting folks like Al-Qaeda and other folks through Mexico and into the United States,” he said.

Katz says MS-13 is neither doing that, nor smuggling many Central American migrants, because it has no advantage or incentive over other smuggling groups.

He considers the gang a small blip on the radar of the country’s gang violence.

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