HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gangs Using Truce to Strengthen Drug Ties: Official
BRIEF

El Salvador Gangs Using Truce to Strengthen Drug Ties: Official

BARRIO 18 / 19 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

El Salvador's new security minister has claimed the truce has allowed the Barrio 18 and MS-13 street gangs to strengthen ties with transnational drug traffickers, showing a significant rhetorical shift from his predecessor.

Security Minister Ricardo Perdomo told La Prensa Grafica that over the course of the truce "there are groups that have increased their drug trafficking activities." Perdomo said that though there was evidence of gangs moving drugs to Guatemala prior to the truce, it had now become a "national security concern."

He also attributed a recent spike in homicides to attempted territorial expansion by one faction of the Barrio 18, called the "Revolutionaries," which he said had become involved in drug trafficking and had led attacks on members of the MS-13.

When asked about his apparent change in stance regarding the gang truce compared to former Security Minister David Munguia Payes, whose term was suspended by the Salvadoran Supreme Court because of his military resume, Perdomo said it was down to new instructions from the president to "conform to reality." 

InSight Crime Analysis

InSight Crime investigations have revealed that fears about these deepening ties between the gangs and more sophisticated criminal organizations are largely unfounded.

SEE ALSO: MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

What's more, Perdomo's comments must be seen in light of his possible political agenda to keep his reputation clean as he positions himself for a job during the next administration. Though Perdomo was originally thought to be a supporter of the truce alongside Munguia (one of the principal truce negotiators), the new security minister has begun to publicly criticize the truce since taking office in May, saying recently that it has not created peace for most Salvadorans. Presidential elections are in March 2014.

Still, Perdomo's comments are similar to a March report by International Assessment and Strategy Center fellow Douglas Farah, which said the MS-13's relationship with local transport groups was expanding. Munguia at the time dismissed Farah's views, though various questions have emerged over other aspects of truce sustainability.

A dramatic drop in murders in the first seven months of the truce was followed by a spike in violence between October and April, though a statistical analysis by Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow Juan Carlos Garzon for InSight Crime shows a reduction of homicides has actually been sustained.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Gang Truce Positives and Negatives

US actions have added fuel to the critics. In October 2012, seven months after the implementation of the truce, the US placed the MS-13 on a list of transnational drug trafficking organizations, alongside powerful groups like Mexico's Zetas. Later it put economic sanctions on six MS-13 leaders.

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

HONDURAS / 19 JAN 2022

The MS13 has grown rich by controlling the way trash is collected and dumped in parts of Honduras.

BRAZIL / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population…

EL SALVADOR / 21 APR 2021

A recently published report warns that pacts made between gangs and public officials to lower homicides in El Salvador will…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…