Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



This Note discusses the dramatic proliferation of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) over the last two decades, primarily focusing on the efforts of the United States and El Salvador to bring the notorious MS-13 to justice. The United States' deportation policy in the mid-1990s and its impact on the presence of MS-13 in El Salvador and the United States set the backdrop for an analysis of the current weapons available to combat the gang's transnational threat. As the international implications of MS-13's actions expanded in the late 1990s, the United States and El Salvador began to charter a number of bilateral and multilateral law enforcement initiatives to address the issue. This Note examines how the antiquated structure and underlying substantive law of the United States--El Salvador Extradition Treaty threaten the progress made by these initiatives, evaluates the United States' current attempt to address this threat through the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and suggests a means to overcome an additional barrier to extradition created by El Salvador's constitutional ban on life imprisonment.