HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Military Official Convicted in Arms Trafficking Case
BRIEF

El Salvador Military Official Convicted in Arms Trafficking Case

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 1 DEC 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A military official in El Salvador was sentenced to seven years in prison for arms trafficking, an indication the country could be cracking down on the widespread practice of military officials selling off weapons to street gangs and civilians.

On November 28, army lieutenant and lawyer Jose Aristides Figueroa was sentenced in a San Salvador federal court on one charge of trafficking military weaponry, reported La Prensa Grafica. Two other charges of arms trafficking against Figueroa were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Figueroa used his post as a legal aide within the military's logistics division to sell more than 50 military firearms, including two AK-47s and four AR-15s, reported La Pagina.

Figueroa was arrested in December 2012 alongside Colonel Salvador Alberto Gonzalez Quezada on charges of arms trafficking, reported El Mundo. The two military officials initially stood trial together; however, their cases were separated in July when the Attorney General's Office suspended Quezada's trial, according to La Prensa Grafica.

According to El Faro, an ongoing investigation by El Salvador's Attorney General's Office into arms trafficking by the military has relied heavily on testimony from Quezada, pictured below.

2014.12.01.Quevada

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite the high level of impunity typically enjoyed by members of the Salvadoran military allegedly involved in arms trafficking, Figueroa's sentence could possibly open the door for several other military officials to be sentenced for siphoning off military-grade weapon caches into the general population.

Additionally, the timing of Figueroa's conviction -- just months after Quezada's trial was suspended -- suggests that Quezada could have supplied authorities with information that allowed prosecutors to build a successful case against Figueroa. This means it's also possible that Quezada could provide authorities with the information needed to successfully prosecute other military officials under investigation for arms trafficking. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profile

Figueroa's conviction could yet set an important precedent. For years, El Salvador's military has sold off weapons to criminal groups, including alleged sales to the country's most powerful street gangs, Barrio 18 and MS-13, as well as Mexican drug cartels.

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

COCAINE / 23 NOV 2020

The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, has ordered the Army to increase operations along the country's border with Honduras,…

BARRIO 18 / 14 DEC 2016

El Salvador's main passenger transport entrepreneur dares to resist paying extortion to the country's gangs. Catalino Miranda already knows that…

BARRIO 18 / 31 JUL 2014

Police in El Salvador have dismantled a criminal network run by a member of the Perrones with Barrio 18 gang…

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…