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One of the most brutal and notorious gangs in the world that is currently facing a massive crackdown has its origins rooted in Satanism.
Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, was founded in Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s. The gang is estimated to have up to 80,000 members across the world, with up to 10,000 operating in the United States alone.
It makes its money across the world through several illicit ventures, including trafficking, racketeering, murder, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, robbery, illegal immigration, battery and prostitution.
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The gang gained a foothold in El Salvador after members were deported there from Los Angeles in the early 1990s.
It sparked widespread violence, but president Nayib Bukele is cracking down with hard-line measures hailed at cutting the country's murder by more than 56% last year.
Authorities recently opened a brutal mega-prison capable of holding up to 40,000 prisoners at a time, including members of MS-13.
Footage shows the first arrivals at the country's "centre for terrorists" stripped, shackled and forced to line up upon their arrival.
El Salvador’s security minister Héctor Gustavo Villatoro ominously said that cartel members who end up inside “will never walk out” the specialist jai.
The strategy has been labelled "authoritarian" – but supporters point to the depraved and evil crimes carried out by gang members in El Salvador and in the United States.
Experts claim that some of its founding members were devil-worshippers.
And the satanic influence on the gang’s members can be seen in their nicknames, tattoos and clothing, with many choosing to plaster skulls and devil horns across their bodies.
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The gang’s infamous devil horns hand sign is known as “la garra”, a Spanish reference to Satan’s claws.
On top of this, some MS-13 members have told investigators that they committed their crimes at the behest of “la bestia”, otherwise known as “The Beast”.
“The beast… wanted a soul,” an MS-13 member nicknamed Diabolical said after killing a 15-year-old girl in 2017 who had allegedly disrespected his satanic-themed shrine.
Another removed a victim's heart from his chest and threw it in his grave, after stabbing him more than 100 times, decapitating and dismembering him, according to detectives' testimony in court papers filed in Montgomery County, Maryland.
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Those who wish to join the brutal cartel have to endure terrible “hazing” rituals to prove their toughness and willingness to commit depraved acts.
Young men often have to endure severe beatings and are sometimes told to kill someone as part of their initiation.
Women also face brutal initiation tests from the savage male members – facing beatings or rape.
Female gang member Elena Guzman told Pacific Standard magazine in 2017 said “cute” female members were far more likely to be sexually assaulted.
“Or if the head of the gang said, 'No, this is only for me,' she'd become his girlfriend”, she added.
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Their heinous crimes against women go beyond their own members.
Quartzreported in 2017that women in El Salvador were buying hair dye en masse after a rumour spread through the country that the only people in the country allowed to have blonde or red hair were the girlfriends of MS-13 cartel members.
The rumour also said that anyone outside of gang circles with blonde or red hair would be executed in public by cartel members.
While the gang denied that this was the case, few believed this denial, with one Salvadorian saying: "These people are crazy and they will kill you."
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