The FBI considers MS-13 (from Mara Salvatrucha) to be the most violent gang in the United States, and they've made a stronghold right here in Middle Tennessee.
The gang has marked its territory all the way from war torn El Salvador to the heart of LA. It has crisscrossed the country and has now found a home on the streets of Nashville.
"They will look for high growth areas where they can blend into the communities and take advantage of good hard-working people," Steve Richardson with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.
The gang has few members, but commits a lot of violent crime --everything from murders to kidnappings to drug trafficking.
Within the last eight weeks, authorities announced 13 indictments against MS-13 gang members for murders across Nashville and other violent crimes in the area.
"The gang members that we're seeing today have been exposed to violence from very, very young age. They've grown up around it," Richardson said.
Police gang units, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are working to infiltrate gang networks from the top down, and trying to squash not only MS-13 but the handfuls of other gangs known to commit crimes in middle Tennessee.
"Maybe the dress...accents...people are different, but really they all boil down to the same motives," James Cavanaugh with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said. "It'd be nice if we could be city for music not city for gangs."
Authorities have seen younger and younger kids join gangs. So, the ATF has launched different campaigns aimed at kids like a coloring book to reach youth before they join gangs.