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Deported from U.S. Jails, Some Salvadoran Illegal Aliens Have Made Killing, Extortion and Brutal Turf Wars Their Life; Wide Angle Tells Their Story in 18 with a Bullet, Premiering July 11 on PBS.

NEW YORK -- WIDE ANGLE, The Award-Winning Series Of International Documentaries, Launches Its Fifth Season With A Penetrating Look At Migration and Transnational Gangs

In the mid 1990s, thousands of Salvadoran nationals living illegally in the U.S. were deported to their homeland. Some of the returnees brought L.A. gang culture back with them to a country beset by poverty and awash in arms - legacies of a recently-ended civil war. By recruiting thousands of local teenagers, gangs reignited turf wars and began a reign of terror in El Salvador. With ten murders reported here daily, El Salvador has one of the highest per capita murder rates on the planet. Police claim the majority are gang-related.

Two thousand miles from Los Angeles's 18th Street, the eponymous gang "18" governs its territory in the streets of San Salvador like a criminal state. Organizing support for members in need, parceling out justice to those who would defy their code and waging a recurrent vendetta against rival gang MS, 18 is a key to El Salvador's status as one of the most violent and crime-ridden countries in the world.

With unprecedented access to the lives of these self-proclaimed "homeboys," 18 with a Bullet, premiering Tuesday, July 11 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) presents a chilling portrait of six months in the life of this notorious Central American gang.

WIDE ANGLE anchor Daljit Dhaliwal will conduct a post-film interview with Ambassador Anne Patterson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement and Narcotics and former ambassador to El Salvador. They will discuss transnational anti-gang efforts within the broader context of El Salvador's post-civil war environment and U.S. deportation policy.

Director Ricardo Pollack has produced and directed several feature length documentaries for the BBC including Accused, about a satanic abuse scare in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. Pollack lived in San Salvador for eight months to make 18 with a Bullet.

For additional information and photography, visit thirteen.org/pressroom/wideangle or pbs.org/pressroom.

WIDE ANGLE is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York for PBS. Stephen Segaller is executive producer. Pamela Hogan is series producer. Andy Halper is senior producer.
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Date:Jun 26, 2006
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