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The Wall Street Journal


WHY ARE PEOPLE FLEEING CENTRAL AMERICA? A NEW BREED OF GANGS IS TAKING OVER


Text by Robbie Whelan


APOPA, El Salvador—The Congress of El Salvador agreed in April to extend the authority of jailers to keep gang leaders in solitary confinement. Over the next five days, the two reigning street gangs killed more than 100 people.

With the highest homicide rate of all countries in the world, El Salvador is a nation held hostage.

Law-enforcement officials estimate that one gang, MS-13, operates an extortion racket with little pressure from authorities in 248 of the 262 of the country’s municipalities. It battles for neighborhood control with another gang, Barrio 18, which runs its own protection scheme in nearly as many regions.


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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos
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