The gang has moved beyond its Salvadoran and American origins and now can be found in other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Spain, Great Britain and Germany, according to international press on criminal activity. Membership in the U.S was believed to be as many as 10,000 in the United States as of 2005. MS-13 criminal activities include drug smuggling and sales, black market gun sales, human trafficking, theft, assaults on law enforcement officials, and contract killing.
Their activities have caught the eye of the FBI, who in September 2005 initiated wide-scale raids against suspected gang members, netting 660 arrests across the country. In the United States, the gang's strongholds have historically been in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Miami, Southern California, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Maryland, the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, Richmond, and Delaware. In Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and other areas of Pennsylvania, the gang is known for its street graffiti, which is used to depict their presence on certain blocks and also sometimes provides clues to their forthcoming crimes, including murder, robbery, narcotics, and especially as a prediction of retaliatory violence.
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