An infamous street gang from Los Angeles is believed to have murdered at least eight people across the US over the last month, including teenage school students some of whom it is claimed were killed as part of satanic rituals.
Members of Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, have been charged with murders including that of a 15-year-old girl in Houston, Texas, and also of two friends, aged 15 and 16 in New York’s Long Island in September, whose bodies were found raped, beaten with baseball bats and hacked with machetes.
Two El Salvadoran suspects, Diego Rivera and Miguel Alvarez-Florez have been charged with the Houston murder.
It is alleged the pair killed their 15-year-old victim known only as “Genesis” when she challenged her captors’ over their “satanic” beliefs in front of a shrine.
According to the New York Post, a court in Houston heard a testimony from a 14-year-old girl who had also been captured, drugged, sexually assaulted and tattooed by the group, and held in the same room as Genesis.
She told the court that after Genesis’ outburst, gang member Alvarez-Florez offered a satanic statue in the shrine a cigarette.
“The beast did not want a material offering, but wanted a soul,” Alvarez-Flores said, according to court documents.
The body of the 15-year-old was subsequently found in the middle of a road, with a bullet holes in the head and chest, both of which appeared to have been fired from close range, police said.
Meanwhile 14 members of the gang have been held, and 12 charged over the killing of the two girls in Long Island, after arrests this month.
Four face the death penalty at a trial of the 13 adult gang members that will be held on April 10.
“For far too long, MS-13 has been meting out their own version of the death penalty,” Robert L. Capers, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York said at a news conference.
The MS-13 gang emerged in the 1980s and is the only US street gang the American government has designated a “transnational criminal organisation”.
The group’s activities extend through Canada and Mexico and as well as through several countries in Central America. Their activities, including people trafficking and drug smuggling, have helped make the Northern Triangle – Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – the most violent place in the world that is not at war, according to organised crime investigation group InSight Crime.
The gang is thought to be responsible for more than 30 murders on Long Island since 2010.
“For far too long, MS-13 has been meting out their own version of the death penalty,” New York Attorney Robert Capers said.
But speaking to The Independent, InSight Crime co-director Steven Dudley said it is highly unlikely the gang is making a wholesale move towards Satanism.
He said: “There is a grain of truth in the satanic fascination of some of these gang members.
“But does it translate into mass, gang-wide rituals in which they execute young girls (thereby conforming to our worst, preconceived fears about them)?
“I highly doubt it. I think these are kids playing God, or Satan, as the case might be.”
World's 10 most deadly street drugs
World's 10 most deadly street drugs
1/10 10. Purple Drank
One of the more unusual drugs around at the moment, purple drank was popularised in 90s hip hop culture, with the likes of Jay Z and Big Moe all mentioning it in their songs. It is a concoction of soda water, sweets and cold medicine, and is drunk due to cold medicines high codeine content, which gives the user a woozy feeling. However it can also cause respiratory issues and heart failure
2/10 9. Scopolamine
Scopolamine is a derivative from the nightshade plant found in the Northern Indian region of South America (Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela). It is generally found in a refined powder form, but can also be found as a tea. The drug is more often used by criminals due its high toxicity level (one gram is believed to be able to kill up to 20 people) making it a strong poison. However, it is also believed that the drug is blown into the faces of unexpecting victims, later causing them to lose all sense of self-control and becoming incapable of forming memories during the time they are under the influence of the drug. This tactic has reportedly been used by gangs in Colombia where there have been reports of people using scopolamine as way to convince victims to rob their own homes
3/10 8. Heroin
Founded in 1874 by C. R. Alder Wright, heroin is one of the world’s oldest drugs. Originally it was prescribed as a strong painkiller used to treat chronic pain and physical trauma. However in 1971 it was made illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Since then it has become one of the most destructive substances in the world, tearing apart communities and destroying families. The side effects of heroin include inflammation of the gums, cold sweats, a weak immune system, muscular weakness and insomnia. It can also damage blood vessels which can later cause gangrene if left untreated
4/10 7. Crack cocaine
Crack cocaine first came about in the 1980’s when cocaine became a widespread commodity within the drug trafficking world. Originally cocaine would have attracted a high price tag due to its rarity and difficulty to produce, but once it became more widespread the price dropped significantly. This resulted in drug dealers forming their cocaine into rock like shapes by using baking soda as a way of distilling the powder down into rock form. People were doing this because it allowed for them to sell cocaine at a lower quantity and to a higher number of people. The side effects of crack cocaine include liver, kidney and lung damage, as well as permanent damage to blood vessels, which can often lead to heart attacks, strokes, and ultimately death
5/10 6. Crystal meth
Not just famous because of a certain Walter H White, but also because it is one of the most destructive drugs in the world. First developed in 1887, it became widely used during the Second World War when both sides would give it to their troops to keep them awake. It is also believed that the Japanese gave it to their Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. After the war crystal meth was prescribed as a diet aid and remained legal until the 1970s. Since then it has fallen into the hands of Mexican gangs and has become a worldwide phenomenon, spreading throughout Europe and Asia. The effects of crystal meth are devastating. In the short-term users will become sleep depraved and anxious, and in the long-term it will cause their flesh to sink, as well as brain damage and damage of the blood vessels
6/10 5. AH-7921
AH-7921 is a synthetic opioid that was previously available to legally purchase online from vendors until it became a Class A in January 2015. The drug is believed to have 80% of the potency of morphine, and became known as the ‘legal heroin’. While there has only been one death related to AH-7921 in the UK, it is believed to be highly dangerous and capable of causing respiratory arrest and gangrene
7/10 4. Flakka
Flakka is a stimulant with a similar chemical make-up to the amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts. While the drug was originally marketed as a legal high alternative to ecstasy, the effects are significantly different. The user will feel an elevated heart rate, enhanced emotions, and, if enough is digested, strong hallucinations. The drug can cause permanent psychological damage due to it affecting the mood regulating neurons that keep the mind’s serotonin and dopamine in check, as well as possibly causing heart failure
8/10 3. Bath salts
Bath salts are a synthetic crystalline drug that is prevalent in the US. While they may sound harmless, they certainly aren’t the sort of salts you drop into a warm bath when having a relaxing night in, they are most similar to mephedrone, and have recently been featured throughout social media due to the ‘zombification’ of its. The name comes from the fact that the drug was originally sold online, and widely disguised as bath salts. The side effects include unusual psychiatric behaviour, psychosis, panic attacks and violent behaviour, as well as the possibility of a heart attack and an elevated body temperature
9/10 2. Whoonga
Whoonga is a combination of antiretroviral drugs, used to treat HIV, and various cutting agents such as detergents and poisons. The drug is widely available in South Africa due to South Africa’s high rate of HIV sufferers, and is believed to be popular due to how cheap it is when compared to prescribed antiretrovirals. The drug is highly addictive and can cause major health issues such as internal bleeding, stomach ulcers and ultimately death
10/10 1. Krokodil
Krokodil is Russia’s secret addiction. It is believed that over one million Russians are addicted to the drug. Users of krokodil are attracted to the drug due to its low price; it is sold at £20 a gram while heroin is sold for £60. However, krokodil is considered more dangerous than heroin because it is often homemade, with ingredients including painkillers, iodine, lighter fluid and industrial cleaning agents. This chemical make-up makes the drug highly dangerous and likely to cause gangrene, and eventually rotting of the flesh
Mr Dudley added: “More troubling for me is their systematic effort to take new territory or reclaim old territory for the purposes of extortion and drug peddling.”Reuse content