Municipal authorities from the U.S. city of Los Angeles have agreed to train Salvadoran police in their fight against cross-border crime gangs.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says his police department will send two trainers to El Salvador, while two Salvadoran investigators will be sent to the California city.

Villaraigosa announced the agreement Wednesday during a visit to El Salvador. He says officials on both sides also will exchange intelligence to prevent gang members from crossing borders without being spotted by local police.

Central American street gangs, known as "Maras," are thought to have tens of thousands of members. Many of them were founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s by Salvadorans who fled to the United States to escape their country's civil war.

Years later, the Maras spread to Central America as gang members were deported from the U.S. to their native countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.