Lifestyle & Belief

Gang Truce in El Salvador Reverberates in Los Angeles

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Alex Sanchez (Photo: Lisa Mullins)

Two of El Salvador's most notorious street gangs got their start in California.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

The Mara Salvatrucha — or MS-13 — and its rival the 18th Street Gang were both created by immigrants who had fled El Salvador's civil war decades ago.

This past March, the Salvadoran branches of the gangs brokered a truce with help from the Catholic church.

Since then, El Salvador's murder rate has gone down.

Alex Sanchez is a former member of MS-13. He directs Homies Unidos.

It's a Los Angeles-based group that works with Salvadoran gang members.

Sanchez says the truce back home has reverberated in Los Angeles.

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