Photo: MS-13 Gang
U.S. Homeland Security exported its crime-fighting know-how on transnational gangs and helped nab over 200 known narcos and gang members in Central America.
The U.S. agency was invited to spearhead the 60-day enforcement operation by the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The results are impressive.
Law enforcement executed 221 arrests, the majority (207) were gang members, seized weapons, vehicles and numerous communication devices. 64 of the arrested had violent criminal histories with seventeen wanted for murder.
The three Central American countries are experiencing higher than average surges in gang violence and seeing more of their country overtaken by gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), 18th Street, Chirizos and Ultra Fiel. El Salvador noted “This enforcement operation was a good experience, an exercise to exchange experiences, best practices and technology.”
The enforcement efforts started in May and concluded on July 29, with U.S. officials conducting threat assessments and identifying crime targets before executing the arrests. Some of the gang members operate both in Central America and the U.S. The targeted gang members have been involved in human trafficking, drug smuggling and distribution, money laundering and arms trafficking.
El Salvador’s national police, Guatemala’s federal anti-gang unit and Honduras federal security agency were also involved in the gang sweep.