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

EL SALVADOR / 31 MAR 2022

Between July 2021 and February 2022, the government of President Nayib Bukele released four top leaders of the MS13 in…

EL SALVADOR / 1 JUL 2021

Multiple sources from the United States and El Salvador say the recent decision to temporarily halt the extradition of several…

EL SALVADOR / 18 MAY 2021

Though far from revelatory, a new list of officials the United States government suspects of corruption and drug trafficking in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…