Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, is providing rifles to El Salvador’s gangs, Security Minister Ricardo Perdomo said.
“Information has been obtained about arms being sent from Mexico by Los Zetas, who have provided rifles,” Perdomo said in an interview earlier this weekend with Telecorporacion Salvadoreña, or TCS.
Authorities have determined that “there is a person who is the link with these Mexican narco structures, and this link not just tries to see the operational capabilities of the gangs to move drugs toward the north, but who also provides arms and gives them drugs” for street dealing, the security minister said.
There is another “black market” for arms that “come from Honduras and Guatemala, especially Honduras,” Perdomo said.
Gangs are involved in drug trafficking and the government’s main goal “is to prevent the consolidation of a narcogang in El Salvador,” Perdomo said.
El Salvador’s largest street gangs declared a truce in March 2012, with the criminal organizations agreeing to not attack each other.
President Mauricio Funes said Saturday that the Mara 18 gang has broken the truce, leading to a wave of murders in recent days.
“One of the gangs ... decided to break the truce or at least to start not complying with one of the commitments it made, and I am referring to the (Mara) 18 gang,” Funes said on his weekly radio show.
El Salvador’s two largest violent youth gangs, known as “maras,” are Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha.
Mara Salvatrucha is a criminal organization that evolved on the streets of Los Angeles during the 1980s, with most of its members young Salvadorans whose parents fled their nation’s erstwhile civil war for the United States.