Episode 103: Bob Clifford – MS-13, Mara Salvatrucha

Retired agent Bob Clifford served with the FBI for 24 years. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, he reviews the organization and operation of the transnational gang MS-13, Mara Salvatrucha, the most dangerous gang in America. In November 2004, Bob Clifford was asked by then FBI Director Robert Mueller to accept a special assignment to FBIHQ to establish the FBI’s MS-13 National Gang Task Force, and served as its first Director. For the next 18 months, Bob led multi-agency and multi-national efforts to combat the infamous MS-13 and other violent transnational street gangs, to include several deployments throughout Central America to successfully garner international cooperation and intelligence-sharing. In addition to coordinating multiple law enforcement field operations, Bob was required to appear before White House, Congressional, and Cabinet-level officials on a regular basis. The task force is now known as the Transnational Anti-Gang (TAG) Task Force initiative. Bob Clifford was previously interviewed on Episodes 96 and 97 of FBI Retired Case File Review about his investigation and capture of the only surviving hijacker responsible for the hijacking of Egypt Air Flight 648.

Special Agent (Retired)
Robert Clifford
1/9/1989 – 6/30/2012









The following are FBI, magazine, and newspaper articles about the violent gang and the FBI’s MS-13, Mara Salvatrucha National Gang Task Force, now known as the Transnational Anti-Gang (TAG) Task Force initiative:

FBI Website – What We Investigate- Gangs

Business Insider – 9/26/2015:  Photos of the men of El Salvador’s Penas Ciudad Barrios — a prison so dangerous even the guards stay outside

Voice of America – 10/27/2009:  Latino Street Gangs a Major Law Issue in US

The Christian Science Monitor – 2/24/2005:  FBI confronts new gang threat


Washington Times – 5/4/2005:  Gang follows illegal aliens

MS-13 is the most dangerous gang in America. Many gang members got their start in violent prisons in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Bob Clifford was the first director of the MS-13, Mara Salvatrucha National Gang Task Force. Read more at FBI.gov.














Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, attempts to relive her glory days by writing crime fiction and hosting FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast available for free subscription on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and other popular podcast apps. Her nonfiction book FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives and her FBI corruption squad police procedural series featuring Special Agent Kari Wheeler are available wherever books are sold.


  1. LuisaMay 10, 2018

    Jerri, you did an amazing job in this interview. I truly enjoyed learning about this problem.
    I became one of your avid listeners after I heard this Podcast. Looking forward to reading your books! Thanks!!!

  2. TracyFebruary 16, 2018

    Wow, you’re right about that picture. It’s shocking.

    1. Jerri WilliamsFebruary 16, 2018

      I’m told the guards don’t go inside. After living like caged animals, once they’ve served their time those prisoners will be released back into society.

  3. carcan pascalFebruary 15, 2018

    You must be proud to know all its major agents, you really lucky.

    1. Jerri WilliamsFebruary 16, 2018

      Yes, I am very fortunate to be a member of the FBI family. I’m thrilled to have the honor of presenting these case reviews to you.


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