Police chiefs from Central and North America are meeting in Los Angeles to discuss a crackdown on gangs which are causing havoc across the region
Latino gangs - which originated in LA - are blamed for a spree of murders, rapes and robberies across the region.
The three-day meeting will focus on improving co-operation and intelligence sharing to stop the so-called Maras.
This week, the US said it would fund a new anti-gang unit for Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.
Until now, the gangs have mostly been tackled on a country-by-country basis.
The heads of the national police forces of several countries where gangs are prevalent, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico are meeting officials from US drug enforcement agencies and the FBI.
Some Central American officials have expressed concern about US methods of deporting gang members to countries where local authorities are unable to arrest them because they have committed no crime in their country of origin.
Of the 120 people arrested in a recent anti-gang raid in El Salvador, 40 had been deported from the US at least once, the country's police chief Rodrigo Avila-Aviles said.
"I cannot blame the United States for deporting them," he added. "However... we need to look out for new mechanisms so we have more control over these guys."
The Maras - whose members are heavily tattooed - grew out of Latino gangs formed in Los Angeles in the early 1980s.
Over the years their network has spread and there are now thought to be hundreds of thousands of gang members across North and Central America.
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