top of page

SWJ El Centro Review Essay – Operation Devil Horns: The Takedown of MS-13 in San Francisco

20 June 2020

C/O Futures Director of Research and Analysis publishes review essay in Small Wars Journal.

Threat Groups: Gangs

Operation Devil Horns focuses on a four year long federal undercover operation against the 20th Street MS-13 clique situated in the Mission District of San Francisco spanning unspecified months from 2004 into 2008. Utilizing multiple confidential informants (CIs) from within the clique, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act was able to be employed against more than forty-two of its members and associates essentially crippling it (p. 221). As mentioned in publisher advertising, the operation was “Set in a city with one of the strictest sanctuary policies protecting illegal immigrants in America…[and]…illustrates how politically correct ideology impacts life-or-death crime fighting on the streets.”[1] As the homicide rate spiked in San Francisco due to the clique’s violent activities and after the sensationalized June 2008 Bologna family killing by MS-13 members, however, took place city governmental cooperation via the SFPD (San Francisco Police Department) with the federal undercover operation greatly increased (pp. 189-197). 


bottom of page