HomeNewsBriefMS13 Arrest Sheds Light on Gang’s Finances
BRIEF

MS13 Arrest Sheds Light on Gang’s Finances

EL SALVADOR / 2 JUN 2017 BY LEONARDO GOI EN

The seizure of a rudimentary ledger belonging to an alleged MS13 gang member in El Salvador sheds a little light on the group's financial dealings and priorities. 

Salvadoran authorities got the documents after capturing an alleged member of the gang, reported El Diario de Hoy.

The detainee, a woman whose name was not revealed but who goes by the alias "La Chacala," was arrested in San Sebastián, a municipality in the central department of San Vicente. Authorities believe she is part of an MS13 group that operates in the neighboring department of Cuscatlán.

During the operation that led to her arrest, police forces seized notebooks that outlined the expenses made by the group in April 2016. The documents show the gang spent over $3,000 obtained through extortions to local businesses and transport employees to purchase ammunition, fix motorbikes, pay for mobile phone data and for a kidney dialysis for a suspected gang member.

Upon arresting her, authorities also confiscated three mobile phones and just under half a kilogram of marijuana. According to El Diario de Hoy, La Chacala faces homicide and extortion charges.

InSight Crime Analysis

There are several things that stand out in the documents, which can be partially viewed on El Diario de Hoy's website. First, these are miniscule sums of money that a hand-to-mouth organization like the MS13 and other gangs manage. The "earnings" are in the hundreds of dollars for the month from each source; the "expenses" are at most in the low thousands. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

Second, the gang is spending a high percentage of its income on war material. It is hard to say if this is normal since we have no months to compare with, but the over $1,000 spent on ammunition does seem like a large amount of money relative to the income. It could indicate they are on a war footing. 

Third, the gang is acting like a company: paying to fix or replace infrastructure and covering costs of medical procedures.    

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 / 13 JUL 2015

Moises Humberto Rivera-Luna, alias “El Viejo Santos,” is one of six Mara Salvatrucha leaders the US Treasury Department blacklisted…

ELITES AND CRIME / 26 OCT 2019

The guilty plea of Mario Estrada, a former Guatemalan presidential candidate, to conspiring to import cocaine into the United States…

BARRIO 18 / 28 APR 2015

A small number of Salvadoran gang members have reportedly elected to set up operations in neighboring Central American countries, in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…