CHIMALTENANGO, Guatemala (AP) - Tattoos, baggy pants and tank tops are out. Smart blazers and university recruits are in. It's an extreme makeover for Central America's gangs. Facing harsh crackdowns by government security forces and citizen vigilante groups, they are trying to lower their profile.
The maras are believed to number about 100,000 in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. As many as 30,000 also operate in the United States, mostly in Los Angeles, according to U.S. federal authorities.