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Surenos is an organization of different Hispanic street gangs, many of which have a presence at the national level. Originating from a jail conflict between the Mexican Mafia, known as La Eme, and the Nuestra Familia, Surenos is a term that has come to describe a gang’s allegiance with the Mexican Mafia and other Hispanic gangs from Southern California. The term “Surenos” means Southern in Spanish. Mara Salvatrucha 13, SUR 13, 18th Street and South Side Locos are all examples of Surenos gangs active in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.
Surenos members represent themselves with a number of phrases and symbols, i.e. “SUR 13”, “Sureno Trece” and “Los Surenos.” Additional identifications include the color blue, the numerical number 13, representing the alphabet letter M, standing for the Mexican Mafia, and XIII.
Surenos membership numbers in the hundreds of thousands nationally and is composed of hundreds of gangs originating from the Southern California area. Membership is primary composed of Hispanic males between the ages of 13 and 28. In recent years female membership has increased as well as the recruitment and targeting of elementary school children.

Despite Southern California gangs swearing an allegiance and truce under the umbrella term “Surenos”, several of the gangs continue to rival one another in the capital region; the most public rivalry being between Mara Salvatrucha 13 and 18th Street.
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