HomeNewsBriefLow El Salvador Drug Seizures Point to Ongoing Impunity, Corruption
BRIEF

Low El Salvador Drug Seizures Point to Ongoing Impunity, Corruption

EL SALVADOR / 30 MAY 2014 BY CAMILO MEJIA EN

Authorities in El Salvador have seized just 2.3 tons of cocaine over the past five years, a figure far lower than its Central American neighbors, reflecting a failure to effectively stem the flow of drugs through the country.

Marco Tulio Lima, chief of the country's antinarcotics police (DAN), suggested the figures demonstrated "a significant hit" to the drug trade, as, he claimed, El Salvador is not a primary route for traffickers, reported La Prensa Grafica. Lima insisted the Caribbean and Pacific sea routes dominate the trade.

The seizures, however, are staggeringly low compared to neighboring countries, such as Honduras, which has seized 2.1 tons of cocaine in 2014 alone, while Guatemala has confiscated 1.4 tons of the drug. Panama and Costa Rica confiscated a total of 40 and 24.5 tons of cocaine in 2013, respectively.

Despite the figures, 13,155 people have been detained in El Salvador over the last five years in relation to drug-trafficking -- 6,198 of which have been captured in the past two years, a substantially higher number than Costa Rica's 2,937 trafficking-related arrests in the same time period.

InSight Crime Analysis

The statements by Lima contrast with recent US State Department statistics that suggest overland routes through Central America continue to dominate the drug trade, with over 200 tons trafficked through the region every year, according to United Nations estimates.

While it is true that much larger quantities pass through El Salvador's neighbors, with shipments often beginning their journey through the isthmus in Panama, Costa Rica or Honduras then moving through Guatemala, El Salvador is still a known transit route and it seems fanciful such low seizures could represent a significant proportion of the drugs passing through the country.

With transport groups like the Texis Cartel and the Perrones known to shift significant quantities of drugs through El Salvador, the figures more likely reflect the degree of impunity and police corruption that facilitates organized crime there.

SEE ALSO: Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

While El Salvador's government has made recent moves against the Texis Cartel, it remains to be seen whether they will result in convictions and lengthy sentences. In the past, legal proceedings have fallen apart and, as the seizure figures highlight, the drugs have continued to flow.

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 / 22 JAN 2014

Eight drug traffickers with links to the Texis Cartel have been convicted after months of their case being pushed around…

EL SALVADOR / 20 MAR 2015

Judicial proceedings have begun in the case of eleven former soccer players from El Salvador's national team who stand accused…

EL SALVADOR / 27 APR 2011

A television cameraman was shot to death on a bus as he rode to work in El Salvador,…

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…