HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Transfers 1,000 Inmates to Break Up New Gang
BRIEF

El Salvador Transfers 1,000 Inmates to Break Up New Gang

BARRIO 18 / 31 JAN 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Authorities in El Salvador have transferred more than 1,000 inmates in an attempt to stabilize some of the country's violent, overcrowded prisons following the death of nine inmates earlier this month.

La Prensa Grafica reports that authorities moved suspected members of a new prison gang, Mara Desorden, in order to prevent a massive break-out they were planning. According to prison director Douglas Moreno, the group is made up of former members of the country's two biggest gangs -- these are the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13).

El Salvador's minister of justice and public security, David Munguia Payes, said those who were moved may also have been preparing a preemptive strike on another group of prisoners.

InSight Crime Analysis

In an attempt to stem rising violence, El Salvador authorities have taken the "mano dura," or "iron fist," approach to security, which involves mass incarcerations of suspected gang members. This, however, had unintended consequences: gangs have taken advantage of the security offered by prisons to regroup and expand their operations.

If prison authorities are correct in saying that former members of the Barrio 18 and MS-13 have joined together to form a new gang, this would undermine conventional wisdom that the two groups are locked in a vicious war.

With more than 25,000 jammed into the country's facilities, which were designed to hold 8,000, El Salvador's prisons are holding three times their capacity. Transfering inmates between prisons is not likely to improve security in the long term.

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 / 31 OCT 2022

Rodolfo Delgado, El Salvador's Attorney General, may have worrying connections to Jorge Manuel Vega Knight, an alleged money launderer and…

BARRIO 18 / 30 JAN 2023

While thousands of gang members have been arrested in El Salvador, some may have moved their activities to Mexico.

BARRIO 18 / 28 MAR 2022

A killing spree unlike anything seen since El Salvador’s civil war has delivered a macabre message from the country’s street…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

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…