Mara Salvatrucha – "Mara" is a Salvadoran word for gang, and "Salvatrucha" means Salvadoran guy.
Identifiers – Mara Salvatrucha is also known as Mara Salvatrucha 13, MS 13, and MS XIII. They consider the number “13” to be lucky and if also shows an alliance with Southern California Hispanic gangs. The number “13” is a reference to the thirteenth letter of the alphabet which is “M.” “M” is synonymous with La Eme or the Mexican Mafia.
MS 13 were formed in the early 1980s in Los Angeles. After fleeing the death squads in civil-war-plagued El Salvador, and later settling in California, a number of Salvadoran immigrants banded together and formed MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, as a self-defence mechanism against rival Mexican gangs. The organization has about 30,000 members, 8,000 - 10,000 of which exist in the US. It is currently the largest gang in many states, including Northern Virginia, and according to user sources is the largest gang in North America, spreading to other nations in the east.