HomeNewsBriefBloody Weekend in El Salvador Amid Impunity
BRIEF

Bloody Weekend in El Salvador Amid Impunity

EL SALVADOR / 21 MAR 2016 BY ELISE DITTA EN

Salvadorans witnessed a murderous weekend with the killings of two police officers, dozens of alleged gang members and the seizure of a million-dollar drug shipment dramatically illustrating the country's deepening security crisis.

Police registered 14 homicides on Sunday, March 19 and 13 homicides a day earlier, including the twelfth and thirteenth police officers to be killed this year.

The Prensa Grafica reported that off-duty officer Samuel Arnoldo Medina was shot Saturday afternoon, and that the decapitated body of another police officer, José Edwin Castillo Chávez, was identified by family members on Saturday after they reported him missing on March 14.

The Public Ministry announced via Twitter that at least 10 alleged gang members were killed on Sunday. The ministry said four men and one women belonging to the Barrio 18 gang were killed in a home in the department of Cuscatlán, and authorities said another three gang members were killed in the city of San Miguel.

El Salvador also had to grapple with incidents related to transnational drug trafficking over the weekend. Authorities reported seizing a boat along the Pacific Coast of La Paz department containing 350 kilos of cocaine, valued at $8 million.

InSight Crime Analysis

Headlines announcing multiple police and gang homicides have become all-too-common in El Salvador, which this year has seen twice the number of homicides registered during the same time period in 2015.

Authorities blame this violence primarily on members of the Barrio 18 and MS13 gangs. Nevertheless, multiple reports have cast doubt on such assertions. According to Public Ministry figures, just over 26 percent of those convicted of murder in El Salvador in 2015 were gang members.

     SEE ALSO: Coverage of El Salvador 

These numbers should be taken with some skepticism, as high impunity rates make it impossible to say who is responsible in most murders. El Faro reported recently that the Public Ministry only took one in ten murder cases to court in 2015 -- meaning that more than 6,000 murders were never prosecuted.

Others have raised concerns about alleged "death squads" that murder suspected gang members. In February 2016 police reported killing four alleged gang members in a shootout, but witnesses said the four were captured alive and executed; similar to another case documented in August 2015.

The authorities' single-minded focus on the gangs as the source of El Salvador's troubles may be making it easier for transnational drug traffickers to continue using the country's coast as a key drug trafficking route.

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 / 31 OCT 2022

Rodolfo Delgado, El Salvador's Attorney General, may have worrying connections to Jorge Manuel Vega Knight, an alleged money launderer and…

EL SALVADOR / 15 JUN 2022

Flaca was devoted to the MS13. But after suffering violence, abuse and rape, she turned to the one escape open…

EL SALVADOR / 15 JUN 2022

El Salvador's sweeping crackdown, which has seen over 30,000 people arrested, may in fact drive many desperate young people straight…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…