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

BARRIO 18 / 1 MAR 2022

Dozens of Barrio 18 members in El Salvador allegedly conspired with street vendors to divert pandemic relief funds.

BARRIO 18 / 24 MAR 2021

Though a relatively minor player in the transnational drug trade, El Salvador's overland smuggling routes have undergone a moderate revival…

EL SALVADOR / 28 APR 2022

The notorious MS13 street gang boasts a diverse criminal portfolio – including prostitution. Through violence, abuse and intimidation, the gang…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…