HomeNewsBrief'El Salvador Gangs Offering Business Loans'
BRIEF

'El Salvador Gangs Offering Business Loans'

EL SALVADOR / 8 JUL 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

According to police intelligence, El Salvador gangs are expanding into loans, security services, and legal businesses, which officials claim is a sign that criminal groups are utilizing the gang truce to expand their control over communities.

Police reports obtained by La Prensa Grafica suggest gangs in San Vicente department are developing a raft of new strategies to expand their influence and wealth. Among them are offering loans at five percent interest to small businesses, opening their own businesses in sectors such as trading motorbike-taxis, and even organizing meetings with communities to inform them the gangs would be responsible for "citizen security."

The reports cite testimonies of gang members, who say that since the ceasefire agreement between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs was signed last year, local factions have operated under orders not to attract attention by killing or extorting in their own territories, but they remain free to do so elsewhere.

According to an unnamed police chief cited by La Prensa Grafica, the gangs are already preparing for the end of the truce, by using the ceasefire to stockpile weapons and vehicles and diversify their revenue sources.

InSight Crime Analysis

Assuming that the police intelligence cited by La Prensa Grafica is reliable, the reports point to an interesting evolution in the gangs' modus operandi, motivated by a willingness to seek out new sources of income.

If, as the police suggest, this is a ploy to deepen their control over communities and part of a strategy to use the gang truce to build up strength, then this is an extremely worrying development and feeds into the worst fears surrounding the truce.

A more optimistic reading would be that the truce has prompted gangs to try and diversify away from violent criminal activities. However, even if this is the case, this development must be monitored carefully, as activities such as security and loans can quickly deteriorate into criminality and violence if left in the hands of gang members accustomed to operating in the criminal world.

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 / 21 MAR 2016

Salvadorans witnessed a murderous weekend with the killings of two police officers, dozens of alleged gang members and the seizure…

CHEPE DIABLO / 17 APR 2017

José Adán Salazar Umaña, alias "Chepe Diablo," has been accused of laundering money via shell companies in Panama, a reminder…

EL SALVADOR / 12 APR 2013

El Salvador's security minister claimed that no members of Congress were accused of ties to a recently-captured drug trafficker known…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…