MS-13 is heavily armed with automatic weapons as well as heavier military weapons. The gang was founded by veterans of the El Salvador civil war.
The gang is heavily involved, according to authorities, in contract killings and drug trafficking. Homeland security is concerned about the possibility of one of the militaristic gangs actually taking over a town or small city and the logistical problems of ousting them while protecting the citizens.
State and federal law enforcement agencies are taking the threat very seriously and are becoming educated on how to indentify gang members and the tactics they employ in their criminal activities.
The criminal acts committed by the gang include home invasions, drugs, and protection racket along with contract killings.
While the gang has ties to Mexican Cartels, they are not under control of the Mexican mafia although they may do business with and for them.
In 2005, over 700 MS-13 members were arrested and sent to prison. Upon release, they will be deported, which according to one cynical viewpoint merely provides them with an all-expenses paid vacation with their families at home in El Salvador. After which, they will illegally return to the United States.