HomeNewsBriefUS Turns Sights on Evasive El Salvador Cartel Leader
BRIEF

US Turns Sights on Evasive El Salvador Cartel Leader

EL SALVADOR / 3 JUN 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

The US has added prominent El Salvador businessman and Texis Cartel founder "Chepe Diablo" to its "Kingpin List," a move that may further erode the aura of immunity that until recently surrounded the powerful drug trafficking and money laundering organization.

On May 30, US President Barack Obama informed Congress that Jose Adan Salazar Umaña, alias "Chepe Diablo," had been named a Specially Designated National by the US Treasury Department under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. 

John Feeley, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the US Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, noted that this designation does not necessarily imply judicial investigations have been opened against an individual, reported La Prensa Grafica.

El Salvador's Justice Ministry considers Salazar to be at the head of the Texis Cartel. In April, he was formally charged with tax evasion amid an ongoing investigation into cartel associates. 

Two more drug traffickers were also added to the Kingpin list, including Victor Ramon Navarro Serrano, alias "Megateo," a former guerrilla from Colombia's Popular Liberation Army (EPL) who is now the leader of a dissident rebel faction and a major drug trafficker.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Texis Cartel has long managed to remain under the radar of Salvadoran authorities, due in part to its high-level political and business connections, which have allowed its leaders to disguise their illicit drug trafficking activities under a cloak of legitimacy. The group has also favored tactics like bribery and corruption over violence, thus attracting less attention.

SEE ALSO: Texis Cartel Profile

Until recently, Salazar was a prime example of this, as the president of El Salvador's first soccer division and owner of a hotel chain.

However, authorities have been edging closer to the cartel leader since last year, beginning with the July 2013 arrest of Roberto "El Burro" Herrera -- another of the founders -- on charges of car theft. Months later, 16 alleged Texis Cartel members linked to "El Burro" were arrested.

The United States' decision could push El Salvador to speed the process of shutting down the cartel's operations, and will also place economic sanctions on any US-side operations in which he may be involved. However, Salazar has thus far demonstrated an impressive ability to evade justice, and it is questionable to what extent his operations in El Salvador will ultimately be affected by the designation.

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

ARGENTINA / 17 JUL 2017

On the surface, former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's 9-year sentence for corruption seems reminiscent of numerous corruption…

BARRIO 18 / 4 MAR 2014

El Salvador police have said rising homicides indicate the country's gang truce effectively no longer exists, raising questions as to…

EL SALVADOR / 26 APR 2019

Financial extortion in El Salvador spares neither women nor men. But women simultaneously suffer from a more insidious form of…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…