An indictment unsealed in federal court in Boston on Thursday includes guidelines for members of the MS-13 gang on what sneakers not to wear. Court papers describe a December 2015 meeting held by leadership of the gang’s “East Coast Program” that was secretly recorded by the government. During that meeting, Edwin Manica Flores, the alleged leader of the MS-13 East Coast Program, instructed members not to wear the Nike Cortez, a shoe associated with the gang.
“Dressed like that, the enemy can see you, the police can arrest you,” a transcript of the recorded conversation reads.
Manica Flores also warned against wearing “the colors,” a reference to the white and blue worn by MS-13.
The Cortez is a popular shoe in Los Angeles, where MS-13 originated. While Nike readily acknowledges the West Coast connections of the Cortez—it recently released “Long Beach” and “Compton” versions—it strays away from mentioning the shoe as part of a gang uniform.
Manica Flores is facing a RICO conspiracy for his alleged involvement in coordinating MS-13’s East Coast activities, among them drug distribution, robbery, and extortion.