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For gangs, defending turf means more than bragging rights—every block they control earns income. Businesses working the street, such as hot dog vendors, are taxed protection fees. What if they don't pay? "They always pay," Jester says. "Sometimes you've got to get aggressive with them." Extortion seems to be one way MS makes money—drug trafficking is another. "Crystal, cocaine, heroin, rock, weed, pills," Jester says, "If you need any kind of pills, don't go to the doctor."

"If somebody tries to step in [our territory], we're going to take them down no matter what it takes," Jester says. "We'll shoot them."

Lisa says she asked several gang members if they feel remorse for the murders they commit. "They don't," Lisa says, "because 'it's either him or me.' It's a gang war out there. ... [Gang life leads] either to prison or to death. And they all know that."

Two weeks after Lisa's interview with Jester, he and a colleague were arrested for murder.
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FROM: Lisa Ling Goes Inside One of the World's Most Dangerous Gangs
Published on January 31, 2006

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