El Salvador's attorney general has accused a congressman of plotting his murder, adding a new twist to an ongoing case that has exposed alleged close ties between the legislator and a major drug trafficking network.
Salvadoran Attorney General Luis Martinez said on September 15 that his office was investigating alternate representative Wilver Alexander Rivera Monge for conspiring to murder him, reported Diario El Mundo.
The accusation came three days after the Attorney General's Office ordered Rivera Monge's arrest for allegedly laundering some $10 million for the drug trafficking network formerly led by Jorge Ernesto Ulloa Sibrian, alias "El Repollo," who was captured last year, reported El Diario de Hoy. He is one of 31 people accused of laundering money for the network, according to El Faro.
Rivera Monge, who owns a car import and sales company, is also believed to have provided Repollo's organization with the vehicles used in their operations. According to the Attorney General's Office, the ties between the congressman and the drug trafficker were so close that on occasion Rivera Monge gave luxury vehicles to Repollo's daughter and to his romantic interests, reported La Pagina.
InSight Crime Analysis
If true, Martinez's accusations are another indication of Rivera Monge's power as a criminal player. The congressman was also reportedly detained in 2012 for running over a policeman and attacking two others, but was never prosecuted. The idea that the alternate representative for Chalatenango might be plotting political assassinations underscores the deep corruption in the Salvadoran state that facilitates the operations of the country's top drug traffickers.
Another example of this corruption is the high-level links of El Salvador's Texis Cartel, whose alleged leaders include a prominent businessman, Jose Adan Salazar, alias "Chepe Diablo," a mayor and his son.
SEE ALSO: Texis Cartel Profile
Repollo is believed to have orchestrated the shipment of nearly 10 tons of cocaine to the United States in a six-year period, utilizing a network that spanned Central America and included former police and members of major Honduran drug transport clan the Valles. He is also believed to have ties to the Texis Cartel's Roberto Antonio Herrera Hernandez, alias "El Burro," an alleged founding member of the group who was arrested last year on car theft charges.
The arrests of El Burro and Repollo, a tax evasion investigation opened against Chepe Diablo, and the current arrest order against Rivera Monge all suggest that Salvadoran prosecutors are taking concerted action against these shadowy networks and the political figures who back them. However, as illustrated by the fact that many of these cases have failed to pin drug trafficking charges to the alleged criminals, getting to the root of the problem is likely to be a long and difficult process.