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Behind The Acronym: The True Power Of MS-13

An MS-13 tattoo on the back of a gang member in custody.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
An MS-13 tattoo on the back of a gang member in custody.

Two letters, two digits, and a hyphen... and together, they can strike fear into the hearts of Americans. MS-13 was born in the United States, deported to El Salvador, and returned to this and several other countries, committing drug deals and other crimes, including murder.

Steven Dudley, who has experience covering organized crime, says the gang is neither as big or as fearsome as some police and politicians make it out to be. Dudley shares his findings in his book MS-13: The Making of America’s Most Notorious Gang.

We hear details on what is known about the gang, and where and how it operates.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.