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The definitive account of the most dangerous street gang in America - the MS-13 - as seen through the lives of one family caught in its malicious web.
The MS-13 was born from war. In the 1980s, El Salvador was enmeshed in a bloody fight for control of the government. To escape the guerrilla assaults and death squads, many fled to the US and settled in Los Angeles. Among them were Alejandro and his six siblings.
As a survival instinct, they formed a group called the Mara Salvatrucha Stoners, a relatively harmless social network bound by rock and roll. But later, as they brushed against established local gangs, the group took on a harder edge, selling drugs, stealing cars and killing rivals who threatened their territories. As authorities cracked down, gang members like Alejandro were incarcerated and deported. But in the prison system, the group only grew stronger.
Today, MS-13 is one of the most infamous street gangs on earth, with an estimated 10,000 members operating in dozens of states and linked to thousands of grisly murders each year.
Through the story of Alejandro and his family, journalist Steven Dudley brings listeners inside the nefarious group to tell a larger story of flawed US and Central American policy and the exploitative and unequal economic systems they foster.
Ultimately, MS-13 is the story of the modern immigrant and the perennial battle to escape a vortex of poverty and crime.
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