Photo of refugee tents in Haiti

Europe raises alarm about Latin American gangs.

“Maras” Ride Immigration Wave into Spain

July 2010, Number 01.03

“The unprecedented wave of Latin American immigrants entering Spain since 2000 has swept in hundreds of thousands of newcomers willing to do work Spaniards spurn. Riding the wave of these Spanish-speaking immigrants are Latin American gangs eager to strengthen their toehold in Europe.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels have stalked Europe’s underworld for decades. But new blood has arrived in the form of Central American “maras,” or Spanish slang for gangs. One notable addition is La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, El Salvador’s notoriously violent criminal gang that Spanish and Salvadoran officials say has reached into southwestern Europe. Known for their garish tattoos and deftness with knives, the Salvadorans have made their debut in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, recruiting not just disaffected Latin American youth but young Spaniards and Moroccans. Though this particular gang problem in Europe is embryonic, it has already drawn the scrutiny of the Spanish Civil Guard, Europol, the United Nations, El Salvador’s Transnational Anti-Gang Center and other agencies...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “ Maras Ride Immigration Wave into Spain,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 3, 2010: 50-53.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.