HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gang Members Use Peace Truce to Avoid Arrest: Police
BRIEF

El Salvador Gang Members Use Peace Truce to Avoid Arrest: Police

BARRIO 18 / 25 MAR 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Gang members have reportedly cited their participation in El Salvador’s gang truce as reason they should not be arrested for crimes, supporting the argument that the gangs are taking advantage of the peace deal. 

The sub-director of Salvadoran National Police (PNC), Mauricio Ramirez, said there had been several incidents in which alleged members of the Barrio 18 and MS-13 gangs claimed they should not be arrested because of their participation in the gang truce. The truce, negotiated last year, has caused the number of murders in El Salvador to drop by 40 percent.

In one incident, police pulled over a car and found nearly a kilo of marijuana inside, reported La Prensa Grafica. One of the car passengers reportedly handed the police a letter which identified him as part of the “pacification process.” According to the newspaper, the letter was signed by Raul Mijango, one of the mediators of the truce. The car passenger then told police that he was in charge of monitoring the truce throughout the country, and that he was passing through the area in order to check that “everything is calm.”

The letter, which was dated September 2012, included a note that stated the accreditation was only valid while the truce was active and if the person carrying the letter was not caught in the act of committing a crime.

After deciding that finding the hidden drugs qualified as catching the man in the act, the police arrested him and his two companions.

One of the police officers present at the scene told La Prensa Grafica that gang members were taking advantage of the truce in order to move around the city more easily, without harassment from law enforcement.

InSight Crime

With the gang truce now a year old, concerns are mounting over whether it can offer a long-term sustainable solution to El Salvador’s gang problem that goes beyond a temporary drop in the murder rate.

In recent months, the truce has been undermined by a rise in extortion, allegations the gangs are becoming increasingly involved in drug trafficking and concerns over disappearances and apparent revenge killings.

As seems to be the case described by the Salvadoran police, it is to be expected that individual gang members will try and use the truce to their advantage, especially if they think it might save them from arrest.

While such incidents may be no more than isolated cases, one concern is that this becomes part of a wider strategy employed by gangs to facilitate criminal activities, such as transporting drugs and weapons. At the moment, there is little evidence to show that this is indeed the case, but it is one more area of the El Salvador gang truce that may require careful monitoring.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 15 SEP 2020

El Salvador is a relatively small but growing player in the drug trafficking business. It serves as…

EL SALVADOR / 22 JUL 2015

Social workers and police officers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (DC) have detected at least nine…

COSTA RICA / 25 JUL 2011

A drug seizure in Costa Rica and the dismantling of an extortion network which targeted El Salvadorans, both allegedly run…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

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 departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…