MS-13 National Gang Task Force

Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, continues to expand its influence in the United States. FBI investigations reveal that it is present in almost every state and continues to grow its membership, now targeting younger recruits more than ever before. To counteract this growth, the FBI formed the MS-13 National Gang Task Force in December 2004. Based at FBI Headquarters, this intelligence-driven task force combines the expertise, resources, and jurisdiction of federal agencies that investigate this violent international street gang. It focuses on maximizing the flow of information and intelligence, coordinating investigations nationally and internationally, and helping state and local law enforcement improve operations and prosecutions targeting MS-13.

The task force has instituted the Central American Fingerprint Exploitation (CAFÉ) initiative to acquire criminal fingerprints from the Central American region and to merge those fingerprints and associated criminal records into our Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) database.  

Other task force initiatives include:

  • The Central American Law Enforcement Exchange (CALEE) Initiative creates opportunities for U.S. and Central American law enforcement personnel to participate in exchange programs to strengthen gang prevention and intervention techniques and to build law enforcement capacity.
  • The Central American Intelligence Program (CAIP) Initiative provides training opportunities to enhance the collection, analysis, and exchange of intelligence between U.S. and Central American law enforcement agencies in the fight against transnational criminal organizations.
  • The Central American Criminal History Information Program (CHIP) Initiative provides foreign law enforcement agencies with criminal history information regarding individuals being deported to their home country.
  • In partnership with the Policía Nacional Civil (PNC) of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, the FBI established the Transnational Anti-Gang (TAG) Task Force Initiative to combat transnational gangs in Central America and the U.S. Each TAG task force is staffed with PNC and FBI personnel.