Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Mara Salvatrucha -- al-Qaeda Link?

The Boston Herald ran a story today which states that police have increased their efforts against Mara Salvatrucha gang members in the Boston area because of alleged ties to al-Qaeda. According to the story:

In recent months, intelligence officials in Washington have warned national law enforcement agencies that al-Qaeda terrorists have been spotted with members of MS-13 [Mara Salvatrucha] in El Salvador, prompting concerns the gang may be smuggling Islamic fundamentalist terrorists into the country. Law enforcement officials have long believed that MS-13 controls alien smuggling routes along Mexico.
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This story resurrects reports from the August/September 2004 time frame about possible connections between the Central American gangs and al-Qaeda. According to the stories at that time, Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader for whom the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward, was spotted in July in Honduras meeting with leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha gang.

I am the last person to claim to be an expert on either terrorists or hoodlums, but the idea of an alliance between the fanatical, extreme Islamic jihadists and the drug-running, gun-toting, turf-fighting gangsters seems a little unlikely. But maybe I'm wrong.



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