Tackling MS-13

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About Cameron Conaway

Cameron Conaway, Executive Editor at The Good Men Project, is a former MMA fighter and an award-winning poet. He is the author of Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet, Bonemeal: Poems and Until You Make the Shore. Conaway is on the Editorial Board at Slavery Today. Follow him on Google+ and on Twitter: @CameronConaway.


  1. wellokaythen says:

    It’s so helpful when the bad guys make their membership completely obvious by putting it right on their faces. They literally have “gang member” written on their faces. I wish international terrorists would do this. It would make law enforcement SO much easier.

  2. Laudable no doubt,,but how does this work . “but will also prohibit entire financial institutions from doing business with them.”?
    Ideally I’d love to see a few money laundering bankers do real time- but honestly I suspect that a lot of El Salvadorian looking peopl are going to not get bank accounts.

    • wellokaythen says:

      The gang could just do what the big players do and use offshore Caribbean accounts. It works for all sorts of “evildoers,” so why not a Salvadoran gang? Dare the U.S. gov’t to go after offshore banks, which is something it’s very squeamish about doing because of the political fall-out.

  3. J.A.,

    I’m equally interested to learn the “hows” of this. My research revealed only phrases like “stricter bank account rules.” I’m not sure if this is because everyone else, like us, is confused, or if the intelligence agencies simply don’t want to leak any of their methods. Either way, MS-13 has large sums of money and they’ve used bank accounts many times before. One method may be something relating to what WellOkayThen said above: profiling individuals based on a combination of their facial tattoos and ethnicity. If you dig up any other information please do post here. Thanks!


  4. I wish them all the best with this endeavor and hope it proves fruitful in fighting resurgence of slavery, I opt not to provide it the nicety of ‘human trafficking’, and all of the violence and depravation that comes with it.
    I agree whole-heartedly that efforts need to be made to help reintegrate inmates back into society, but from personal experience, believe it needs to start from day one of incarceration by providing opportunities to provide the basic skills needed to be successful upon return to society. This such as: valuing education; showing up on time; following directions; earning opportunities; and learning effective communication skills.
    Unfortunately, I currently have more faith in the prospect of free birth control having a better impact on such ills of society. A system is a system, and it’s a matter of being able to find a relative way, and means, to work within it to improve inmates lives as well as society’s.

  5. Dear Dan,

    Brilliant insights here. I agree with you on all fronts. Changing the prison system as we’d like will be a monumental undertaking, especially compared to simply distributing birth control (though that will come with its difficulties as well).

    I’d love to learn more about your “personal experience” if ever you’re up for sharing.

    Thanks again, Dan. Much appreciated.


  6. Adsum Ozar says:

    The way I see it, it is a win-win situation for the US Treasury Department. They saw the influence and muscle Mara Salvatrucha was throwing around and knowing very well the amount of money generated by their criminal enterprises, well, it was just natural to hit them where it hurt$. Win-win, because all assets confiscated will be used as best considered fit, and in the process they look good fighting these bad guys which until now were doing their “own thing” without paying dues, and powering over rivals by sheer maniacal force. I have no sympathy for MS13, but I have to agree that this new move to combat them will probably only result in either a brief lull, or an all out forceful response from them. This new wave of gangsters epitomize everything that has gone wrong, ignored, and almost without a doubt “inadvertently” instigated by numerous US government policies both here and abroad. There is not enough room here for me to expand, but I will quickly note that almost forty-percent of El Salvador’s population lives under the poverty line, the war on drugs has been played out to no avail, or benefit in their country, and 12 years of civil war fueled by American aid and weapons in the 80′s has left this country in disarray. The ones that made it out of El Salvador and into the US just adapted to what was already waiting for them here. Adapted and thrived they did within a system that profits from prisons, which fail to rehabilitate inmates, and continues to fight crime by militarizing our community police departments and throwing money at the problem in various other forms without ever considering a hard look at the root of the problem. Yep! these guys are easy to spot right now, but just give’em enough time to adjust and learn how the system really works… their future generations might just become “respectable” business men paying their dues just the way wall street does today.

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