HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Death Squad Suspects Freed, While Corrupt Cops Jailed
BRIEF

El Salvador Death Squad Suspects Freed, While Corrupt Cops Jailed

EL SALVADOR / 5 SEP 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

One group of police officers in El Salvador accused of running a death squad has been freed just as another group accused of trafficking illicit objects to inmates has been sent to prison, a seemingly stark illustration of how the government is dealing with suspected crimes by its security forces.

An El Salvador court has ordered that seven members of the country's National Civil Police (Policía Nacional Civil - PNC) remain in pretrial detention for trafficking illicit objects into jail cells, breach of duty and illicit association, El Mundo reported

The police officers allegedly charged inmates between $300 and $500 to smuggle cell phones, cell phone chips and marijuana into holding cells known as "bartolinas," which the police have for inmates awaiting trial, according to El Mundo. 

After removing the inmates from their cells for cleaning, the officers would allegedly put the contraband into the inmates' food bags. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

Meanwhile, another group of officers accused of committing extrajudicial executions of suspected gang members has been released, Revista Factum reported

An August report by Factum said that four members of an elite unit of El Salvador's PNC known as the Special Reaction Forces (Fuerza Especializada de Reacción - FES) committed at least three extrajudicial killings, two sexual assaults and extorted money while using social media networks like Facebook and WhatsApp to coordinate and discuss the illegal activities. 

On September 4, El Salvador Attorney General Douglas Meléndez told Factum that those accused had been released after the required 72 hours of administrative detention, and put on administrative leave to do "desk work," as one PNC official put it.

InSight Crime Analysis

While both investigations are still in their preliminary stages and final judgements have yet to be made, the cases illustrate a painful reality regarding police corruption: some crimes may be more acceptable than others. 

There's no question that El Salvador's gangs pose a serious security challenge to authorities. Attorney General Meléndez and his family recently reported receiving death threats and being ordered to leave the country. And El Salvador's police forces and their relatives have been increasingly targeted by the country's gangs.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Hesitant to Respond to Police Death Squad Allegations  

However, anti-gang death squads led by security forces and police corruption in general are also serious problems. How authorities handle the latest high-profile case, and police reform more broadly, is sure to have wide implications for the country going forward.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 2 DEC 2011

El Salvador has already counted more murders in 2011 than in the whole of the previous year, according…

EL SALVADOR / 7 JAN 2017

As the year closed, the successes and failures of the fight against corruption, impunity and organized crime in the Northern…

EL SALVADOR / 16 AUG 2011

News network Al Jazeera has published a series of articles on organized crime and drug violence in Central America, with…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…