The MS refers to the Mara Salvatrucha, which is one of the large gangs that are found in Central America and the United States as a whole. MS 13 first arrived in the USA in California in the 1980’s. The gang can also be found in other countries outside America like Canada, Guatemala, Colombia, Great Britain, Mexico and Germany.
The members have tattoos on their bodies and faces, they use symbols to show the area where the gang member specializes in. Some of the symbols that are used include crossbones, dice, grenades and daggers. They go from getting tattoos large enough to cover the whole back or very tiny such that it can fit on the hand and fingers. The size can be an indicator of the period of time passed since an individual has been in the gang, older members have larger tattoos then other young ones.
The number 13 or 18 that is used by the members can either be in roman numbers, Arabic numbers or a mixture of both. The MS tattoos are often disguised with other tattoos so that the police cannot easily relate them to the gang.
One of the tattoos that you will find on a gang member is MSX3 the number 10 is used to replace the 1 in 13. The M stands for Mara, the S stands for Salvatrucha while the 13 is used as a sign of respect for the Mexican Mafia group. The MS tattoos have 3 dots that appear in a triangular shape to represent the 3 places that a gang member goes to once you are recruited. The 3 places are a hospital, prison and the grave. When you have a MS symbol that appears above your shoulder, this means that you have the ultimate honor. This type of tattoo is only found in gang members that are high ranking. Depending on which set you belong to the tattoo will have initials of the area that you come from.
There is also an area code for El Salvador that is included in the tattoos. The number 503 represents this code. Their colors are blue and white also taken from the flag of El Salvador.
I couldn’t find many clear and quality pictures of this gang, it’s probably because they don’t pose much, either then mugshots. So feel free to share some photos or information if you have some.