HomeNewsBriefBust Highlights El Salvador, Guatemala Criminal Cooperation
BRIEF

Bust Highlights El Salvador, Guatemala Criminal Cooperation

EL SALVADOR / 14 APR 2014 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

Authorities in Central America have dismantled a drug trafficking organization the stretched between Guatemala and El Salvador and was responsible for drugs that entered schools and a prison, with the investigation revealing a network of disparate criminal elements with women in prominent roles.

The Guatemala-based group, known as Los Temerarios, smuggled 6.5 kilos of marijuana into El Salvador each week, using a trafficking blind spot to smuggle the drugs across the border, reported El Diario De Hoy. The drugs were then moved deeper into El Salvador using taxis and buses and then stored in the home of Cristina Yamilet Polanco Merlos, a housewife with connections to El Salvador's Texis Cartel and a cell of the Barrio 18 street gang.

According to police, Polanco then sold the marijuana for nearly $60 a pound to women who smuggled it into a jail in the city of Santa Ana. She also worked with a cell of the Barrio 18 street gang, which was in charge of a micro-trafficking operation that sold marijuana in parks and schools in the departments of Santa Ana and La Libertad.  

Polanco's point of contact with the Guatemalan cartel was another woman whose full name is unknown.

This is not the first time that police have discovered a connection between the Temerarios and the Texis Cartel. In September 2013, 18 people connected to both cartels were arrested, including Los Temerarios' leader Jose Arturo Silva Sandoval, who was in charge of moving cocaine and heroin provided by the Texis Cartel, according to La Prensa Grafica.

InSight Crime Analysis

Though much attention given to drug interdiction efforts focuses on maritime routes along the coasts, this smuggling operation underscores the fact that land routes are still important, especially in border regions where freight trucks, cars and buses pass daily. In 2013, El Salvador began compiling a list of freight companies believed to be involved in drug smuggling, though whether that effort has had any effect on the flow of drugs is unknown and highly doubtful. 

The dismantling of this network sending marijuana southwards highlights the link between El Salvador's Texis Cartel and Guatemala's Temerarios, which have in the past collaborated on moving much larger quantities of hard drugs north through these border regions. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Texis Cartel

It is notable that women apparently maintained key roles within this network, with females often occupying secondary positions in criminal organizations, or used only for the likes of transportation and street sales. In 2013, it was reported the female prison population in Guatemala had doubled in eight years, a fact likely driven by the increasing involvement of women in organized criminal activities.

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

CHEPE DIABLO / 25 MAY 2021

A business magnate who is an alleged leader of El Salvador’s Texis Cartel has escaped justice once again, after a…

ELITES AND CRIME / 14 OCT 2020

Guatemala's attorney general has given the go-ahead to new legal actions against the public prosecutor that has headed Guatemala's…

EL SALVADOR / 18 MAY 2021

Though far from revelatory, a new list of officials the United States government suspects of corruption and drug trafficking in…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…