HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gang Members Sentenced to 200 Years
BRIEF

El Salvador Gang Members Sentenced to 200 Years

EL SALVADOR / 26 MAY 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A judge in El Salvador has sentenced members of the MS13 street gang to 200.5 years in prison on extortion charges, another sign that the judicial system is moving in lockstep with the government's security apparatus to combat the gangs.

A sentencing tribunal in the eastern city of San Miguel handed down the ruling to six MS13 members for running an extortion network from within the prison facility La Esperanza (The Hope), reported El Diario de Hoy. The network, which was reportedly comprised of 17 gang members, made phone calls from within the prison to extort victims on the outside.

The same court convicted 76 other gang members of attempting to murder a police officer and belonging to a terrorist organization, reported the Associated Press. Eight ringleaders were sentenced to 44 years in prison, while the other 68 members received 38.5 years. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The court's decision to sentence the extortionists to such a lengthy prison sentence is eye-catching, especially in light of the much shorter sentences other gang members received for attempted homicide of a police officer. The ruling comes within the context of a wider government push to crack down on illegal activity within the country's prisons, which have long served as recruitment and operations centers for the gangs and are where many of the extortion rackets originate. Earlier this month, Vice President Óscar Ortiz extended the state of emergency in seven penitentiary facilities for one year.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

This is not the first time the courts have taken a tough stance against the gangs in tandem with a government crackdown. In August 2015 the Supreme Court labeled the MS13 and Barrio 18 as terrorist organizations, paving the way for more militarized anti-gang strategies at a time when security officials were already talking of waging all out "war" against the gangs.

The Salvadoran government appears set to continue employing so-called Mano Dura, or Iron Fist, tactics to combat the gangs. However, this hardline strategy has so far failed to pay security dividends. Last year El Salvador became the most homicidal nation in the world not at war, with a significant amount of the violence attributed to the gangs.

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

BAGDAD / 26 NOV 2020

A burst of attempted contraband smuggling into Panama’s largest prison complex has challenged governments claims about the success of recent…

EL SALVADOR / 26 APR 2016

Data collected by activists suggest security forces and gang members are the principal perpetrators of violence against members of the…

EL SALVADOR / 11 MAY 2020

Recent US indictments have shown in detail how Venezuela was at one point a key stepping stone for cocaine heading…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…