Members of the infamous ’18th Street Gang’ arrested in Spain’s Barcelona

Members of the infamous '18th Street Gang' busted in Spain's Barcelona

Members of the infamous '18th Street Gang' busted in Spain's Barcelona. Image: radoszki/

OFFICERS from Spain’s National Police and the Guardia Urbana of Barcelona have arrested 15 people – in Barcelona and in l’Hospitalet de Llobregat – for belonging to the criminal organisation, 18th Street gang.

Members linked to the infamous 18th Street gang, also known as Calle 18, Barrio 18, Mara 18, or simply La 18 in Central America, a multi-ethnic transnational criminal organisation that started as a street gang in Los Angeles, have been busted in Spain’s Barcelona, according to reports on Friday, February 10.

The gang had reportedly intended to establish themselves in Barcelona, police said.

An investigation into the gang began last August when officers detected intense criminal activity, the recruitment and indoctrination of young people in educational centres and youth leisure clubs in the area.

Police noted that the aim of these activities from the gang was to form an ironclad group with which to control, through the use of violence, what they consider to be their territory.

According to the investigators, a hierarchical structure with well-defined roles and a rigid code of conduct was used by the gang, while non-compliance entailed severe punishments.

Among the detainees are the leaders of the gang, a group of “soldiers”, members already initiated with full rights, as well as people looking to join.

Those not officially part of the gang were awaiting the initiation, which consisted of being beaten by gang members for 18 seconds.

The gang were also reportedly involved in drug trafficking and crimes against property.

In addition to the arrests, six homes and one premise were raided, in which numerous items of clothing and symbols linked to the Barrio 18 gang were found.

Bladed weapons, cash and computer equipment were also seized.

The police operation, the first in Spain against the 18th Street gang, is part of the National Police’s participation in an international group of police agencies created to combat the gang, which includes organisations from the United States (Joint Task Force Vulcan), El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at