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

EL SALVADOR / 16 SEP 2014

El Salvador's attorney general has accused a congressman of plotting his murder, adding a new twist to an ongoing case…

EL SALVADOR / 30 MAY 2011

El Salvador's army arrested six soldiers on suspicion of trying to steal more than 1,800 hand grenades to sell to…

COLOMBIA / 13 APR 2020

Women’s participation in organized crime groups is not uniform. The diverse roles that women play in criminal economies allow us…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…