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 / 1 SEP 2016

A judge has ordered El Salvador's former attorney general to remain behind bars despite his having posted bail in a…

BARRIO 18 / 16 FEB 2018

The United Nations has it eyes set on El Salvador. In a period of a few months, four of its…

EL SALVADOR / 9 FEB 2016

Salvadoran authorities' frustrated attempts to stem cash flows in prisons point to the strength of prison economies in El Salvador,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…