Authorities in El Salvador have released findings from an investigation into the Texis Cartel, revealing a diverse network of criminal activities that explains how the group has become a key player among Central American trafficking networks.
A police probe into the roots and associations of the Texis Cartel has uncovered a sprawling organization involved in many aspects of criminal activity, reported La Prensa Grafica.
According to Ricardo Perdomo, El Salvador's Minister of Justice and Public Security, the organization is divided into four main groups. The first oversees car theft; a second is in charge of domestic drug distribution; a third coordinates drug transport from Panama to Mexico; and the "business" branch takes care of money laundering.
Police also discovered links between the cartel and notorious convicted murderer Miguel Angel Pozo Aparicio. Authorities believe Pozo was coordinating Texis activities, including drug shipments, through phone calls from his prison cell.
InSight Crime Analysis
The findings offer some insight into how the Texis Cartel has utilized its leaders' business connections and the country’s corrupt political system to become one of Central America’s most important trafficking and organized crime groups.
The group, made up of a ring of individuals with strong ties to El Salvador's business and political elites, operates primarily as a "free agent" transport organization, moving drugs and other contraband for any paying client -- generally consisting of cartels and drug trafficking organizations such as Mexico's Zetas.
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The Texis Cartel had seemed content to act in this capacity and not sought to maximize profits by expanding operations beyond its established area of influence. This strategy had allowed members to keep a relatively low profile and avoid criminal charges, until a series of arrests between July and September netted almost 30 people with Texis Cartel ties, including business owners, a congressman and Roberto "El Burro" Herrera, one of the group’s original leaders.
However, the investigation's findings highlight how the Texis Cartel has been extending its tentacles to form alliances with individuals connected to traditional organized crime in El Salvador. These include Pozo and Moris Alexander Bercian Manchon, alias “El Barney,” a high-ranking member of the MS13 gang whose father has previously been tied to the Texis cartel. Authorities also recently found connections between Texis members and a car theft ring in Guatemala.