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The MS-13 Gang and Al Qaeda Connection

Updated on April 21, 2010

Gangs, such as Mara Salvatrucha, mainly help terrorists for financial gain. A member of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) when asked why MS-13 would agree to aid Al Qaeda in the wake of 9/11, stated “Money. That is the reason for everything.” (Williams, 2005, p. 169). MS-13 is one of the largest and most dangerous gangs. MS-13 controls the majority of smuggling (drugs, weapons, and people) that flows from Mexico into the United States (Williams, 2005). MS-13’s determination to control the United States-Mexico border is evident by the shear number of gang members assigned this duty. MS-13 has over three thousand gang members that watch over the border (Williams, 2005). The United States government only has approximately ten thousand border patrol agents assigned to the Mexico border (Minority Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security U.S. House of Representatives, 2005). How serious is the United States government at controlling the border when gangs like MS-13 dedicate almost a third the amount of resources as the United States government does at controlling the border?

The ability of MS-13 to effectively and publicly control the border allows them to deal with terrorists, such as Al Qaeda. MS-13’s ability to control the border is what captured the attention of Al Qaeda:

"Mara Salvatrucha attracted the attention of top Al Qaeda officials, who realized that the Salvadoran gang could be used to smuggle operatives and weapons (including small nukes and other weapons of mass destruction) into the United States and also to provide safe transport over the border and shelter for sleeper agents in town and cities from San Diego, California, to Bangor, Maine; from Miami, Florida, to Kodiak, Alaska – places where the gang already established a presence" (Williams, 2005, p. 160).

Mexican Border
Mexican Border

By 2002 Al Qaeda and MS-13 officially became partners. Their partnership was simple:

"In exchange for safe passage across the border, shelter within the states, and a bogus matricula consular, Al Qaeda – through its cells in South America – agreed to pay Mara Salvatrucha from $30,000 to $50,000 for each sleeper agent" (Williams, 2005. p. 160).

It is unclear exactly how many Al Qaeda operatives MS-13 have brought illegally into the United States across the border. It has been reported, however, that Adnan el-Shukrijumah, the appointed Al Qaeda planner for the next 9/11, secured the services of MS-13 to enter the United States (Williams, 2005).

The border situation with Mexico is a serious problem that the United States should address immediately. For all practical purposes, MS-13 controls one third of the border, based on number of personnel assigned. The United States must focus efforts to bring MS-13 to justice and regain control of the border. As long as MS-13 controls the border, terrorists and criminals will use their services.


Minority Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security U.S. House of Representatives. (May 2005). The U.S. border patrol: failure of the administration to deliver a comprehensive land border strategy leaves our nation’s borders vulnerable. Retrieved from:

Williams, P. (2005). The Al Qaeda connection: International terrorism, organized crime, and the coming apocalypse. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.


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    • jose7polanco profile image

      Jose Misael Polanco 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Wow, i got to say, i was doing a research for LAHC looking for those cases that MS 13 is smuggling children for prostitution in an effort to supply for financial losses from drug war. I am shock to hear this, i am Salvadoran my self and i find this very shocking. Every week i discover something new about this gang.

    • profile image

      JOHN 5 years ago


    • profile image

      Mike CC 6 years ago

      MS13 would not stand a chance if we really decided to go after them...

      The LIBERAL MEDIA likes for us to be victims of MS 13... They keep their business going, at our expense!

      One day the media will will get what they deserve for their treasonous activities.

    • OpinionDuck profile image

      OpinionDuck 7 years ago

      The government did a pretty good job of keeping out terrorists during WWII, as well as prevent any sabotage of the Manhattan Project.

      Today political correctness, and our the manipulation of our own constitution make it difficult to protect our country.

    • profile image

      elliotm 8 years ago

      Interesting HUB but sometimes there are problems with no solutions. If terrorist operatives want to enter the US, they will. If not through the Mexican border, then through the Canadian border and if not through Canada then by boat or plane. You can throw all the money, predator drones, fences and cameras you want at the problem but protecting your underbelly while leaving your back exposed in pointless, you may as well be playing whackamole.

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

      Hxprof - thx for the great comment. Hopefully, America will fix the soft is a big problem.

    • profile image

      Hxprof 8 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      Wow-very informative piece. You've confirmed things that I discovered while in the service of a border security group and later a civilian anti-terror group.

      There is also evidence of an alliance, or at the least an understanding between Al Qaeda and white supremacy orgs. as both hate Jews.

      Thanks for spreading the truth about America's 'soft underbelly'.

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

      HH - thx for the comment! Congrats on being the featured hubber of the week! I enjoyed your interview.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Gosh, that is scary. Thank you for a great hub, kea. I glad you are in my follower club. I would have missed this hub otherwise.


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