HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Ex-Military Official Arrested for Arms Trafficking
BRIEF

El Salvador Ex-Military Official Arrested for Arms Trafficking

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 9 SEP 2015 BY ELIJAH STEVENS EN

Authorities in El Salvador have arrested a former colonel after a house raid turned up a stockpile of weapons, highlighting ongoing military involvement in arms trafficking.

On September 3, 2015, El Diario de Hoy reported that police raided the home of retired military colonel Roberto Pineda Guerra. La Prensa Grafica reported that police found a stockpile of weapons, including sniper rifles, pistols, revolvers, and a submachine gun, as well as grenades, munitions, and military uniforms. The colonel faces multiple charges of weapons possession and trafficking.

Attorney General Luis Martinez said that the raid and arrest was made in connection to an investigation involving the illegal sale of C4, a plastic explosive. Officials believe that Pineda Guerra’s weapons stockpile was intended for sale to gang members.

Pineda Guerra was a prominent leader during his military tenure. As El Nuevo Herald reported, Pineda Guerra was a member of “La Tandona,” a key military group during El Salvador's civil war (1980-1992). Pineda Guerra was also the director of the now-defunct “Policia de Hacienda,” a military intelligence force infamous for its human rights violations.

InSight Crime Analysis

The arrest of Pineda Guerra is indicative of the continued involvement of El Salvador's military in arms trafficking. There are multiple, past examples of corrupt military officers selling weapons to the black market, which have then ended up in the hands of local street gangs and international criminal groups, including the Zetas and other Mexican cartels.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Arms Trafficking

Given ongoing concerns that gangs the Barrio 18 and the Mara Salvatrucha are becoming better armed than the police, this may prompt authorities to scrutinize the country's arms trade more carefully. Pineda Guerra's case may prove particularly significant, if he was indeed attempting to sell explosives on the black market. Recent incidents involving booby-trapped cars across El Salvador have raised fears that the gangs are reportedly becoming more sophisticated in their aggression. Notably, an investigation by La Prensa Grafica earlier this year highlighted military involvement in the illicit explosives and weapons trade. 

Military officials have nonetheless faced high levels of impunity when it comes to processing arms trafficking cases. Pineda Guerra's case may yet prove to be an exception, but there is a long road ahead in the courts. 

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

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border…

EL SALVADOR / 25 JAN 2022

When strolling through Las Margaritas, a neighborhood of over 15,000 people in the city of Soyapango, El Salvador, crossing paths…

EL SALVADOR / 13 DEC 2021

Efforts to reduce gang violence are often thought of as highly dependent on local conditions, but a recent report looks…

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,…