Sureños, also known as Southern United Raza, are a group of gangs affiliated with the Mexican Mafia, also known as “La Eme.” They originated in Southern California, primarily among Mexican-American street gangs, and have spread throughout the United States and even into other countries.
Sureños gangs often use the number “13” as a symbol, as it represents the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, “M,” which is a reference to the Mexican Mafia. They may also use other symbols, such as the color blue, the Aztec or Mexican flag, or the letter “S” for “Sur,” which means south in Spanish.
Sureños gangs are known for their criminal activity, which can include drug trafficking, robbery, assault, and murder. They often engage in conflicts with rival gangs, such as Norteños, who are affiliated with the Nuestra Familia gang, which is a rival of the Mexican Mafia.
The origins of the Sureños can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s in the California prison system. At that time, Mexican-American prisoners formed gangs to protect themselves from other inmates, who often targeted them for their ethnicity.
In the 1960s, a group of these Mexican-American prisoners formed the Mexican Mafia, also known as “La Eme,” to gain more power and control within the prison system. The Mexican Mafia recruited members from various Hispanic street gangs in Southern California, many of whom were already affiliated with the gang culture.
Over time, some of these street gangs began to adopt the symbols, language, and culture of the Mexican Mafia, eventually forming their own gang identity as Sureños, meaning “Southerners” in Spanish. The Sureños adopted the color blue, which is associated with the Mexican flag and the southern region of Mexico, as well as the number “13” to signify their allegiance to the Mexican Mafia.
Since then, the Sureños gang has grown and spread throughout California, as well as other parts of the United States and even internationally, with various subgroups and factions operating under the Sureños banner.
How do they operate
The Sureños gang operates as a loose affiliation of various street gangs, each with its own leadership and structure. While there is no central governing body, the Mexican Mafia exerts influence and control over many Sureños gangs, often using violence and intimidation to maintain their power.
Sureños gangs often engage in criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, robbery, assault, and murder. They may also engage in other forms of illegal activity, such as extortion, money laundering, and human trafficking.
The Sureños use a variety of symbols and codes to communicate with each other and identify themselves as members of the gang. These may include the color blue, the number “13,” the Aztec or Mexican flag, or the letter “S” for “Sur,” meaning south in Spanish.
Sureños gangs often have conflicts with rival gangs, particularly Norteños, who are affiliated with the Nuestra Familia gang and are their primary rivals. These conflicts can lead to violence and even deadly gang wars.
Where are they?
The Sureños gang originated in Southern California, primarily in the Los Angeles area, and has since spread throughout California and other parts of the United States. They are particularly prominent in urban areas with large Hispanic populations, including parts of California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.
However, Sureños gangs can also be found in other states, such as Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington. The gang has even spread internationally, with Sureños factions operating in Mexico, Canada, and parts of Central America.