HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Detains Officials in Ongoing Fight Against Corruption
BRIEF

El Salvador Detains Officials in Ongoing Fight Against Corruption

EL SALVADOR / 15 AUG 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

El Salvador has taken down a network of colluding officials from within its judiciary, a sign that the momentum against corruption propeled by Attorney General Douglas Meléndez remains strong.

Former judges, legal assistants, lawyers and a current and former prosecutor were among at least 14 individuals captured on August 14, according to a press release by El Salvador's police. The operation is ongoing, with four outstanding arrest warrants.

Authorities say the corrupt network was involved in at least 29 cases of manipulating judicial processes in favor of criminals, according to El Diario de Hoy. The detainees allegedly offered judicial benefits to the defendants, including leaking confidential information, in exchange for bribes ranging from $50 to $10,000.

The ring assisted criminal suspects ranging from gang members to former Salvadoran President Antonio Saca, who stands accused of embezzlement. The latter allegedly paid a legal assistant $10,000 to obtain information on his case -- which now includes an additional charge for bribery -- according to a press release by the attorney general's office.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

The arrests come less than a week after an alleged leak from within El Salvador's judiciary was made public, although the two events currently appear to be unrelated.

On August 7, Police Chief Howard Cotto stated that authorities would pursue politicians that financed death squads in the country, without giving names. The following day, former San Miguel Mayor Will Salgado, who will run in the 2018 mayoral elections, stated that a judicial official had warned him of his imminent arrest for allegedly financing deaths squads, and advised him to flee.

Attorney General Douglas Meléndez neither admitted nor denied that Salgado was being investigated, according to La Prensa Gráfica. Salgado has not been arrested.

In another crackdown against corruption in El Salvador, former Mayor Florentino Rivas and over a dozen other individuals were sent to prison on the same day as authorities dismantled the corrupt judiciary ring, reported elsalvador.com. Rivas was arrested last week, accused of heading a transnational cocaine trafficking network.

InSight Crime Analysis

Corruption is no novelty in El Salvador, whether among judiciary, police or mayors. But these operations suggest an ongoing crackdown on the phenomenon under the impulse of Attorney General Douglas Meléndez.

Since taking office in January 2016, Meléndez has arrested former former President Saca and investigated his successor Mauricio Funes. In addition, the new attorney general distinguished himself from his predecessor in the high-stakes case against José Adán Salazar Umaña, alias "Chepe Diablo," the suspected leader of one of El Salvador's most powerful drug trafficking groups, the Texis Cartel.

As InSight Crime reported at the time, the former attorney general had all but buried the case against Salazar Umaña. Once in office, Meléndez reopened the investigation and eventually ordered Chepe Diablo's arrest. This move against a powerful criminal figure whose political ties appeared to reach as high as El Salvador's current vice president was a strong sign of Meléndez's intent to bring about change. These latest arrests suggest that more decisive action against corrupt elements of El Salvador's own government may be yet to come.

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

BARRIO 18 / 1 MAR 2022

Fired prison employees in El Salvador have claimed they witnessed negotiations among government officials and imprisoned gang leaders, adding weight…

CACHIROS / 31 MAR 2021

A judge in the United States sentenced the brother of Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández to life in prison for…

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…

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,…