“When strolling through Las Margaritas, a neighborhood of over 15,000 people in the city of Soyapango, El Salvador, crossing paths with the MS13 is all but assured. There, almost all facets of daily life are linked to the gang in one way or another.

If someone wants to buy the most essential of items, such as gasoline, they must go through the MS13, which distributes tanks full of fuel to local shops. If they want bread, the gang also provides, from one of at least three MS13 bakeries in the community. There are other bakeries, of course, but they buy their flour exclusively from the gang.

The same goes for public transport. If someone wants to leave Las Margaritas but does not have a car, they have just two options: use a taxi belonging to the gang or board a bus on one of two routes out, both systematically extorted by the MS13.”

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