El Salvador News

Half the Illegal Weapons in El Salvador Come from US: Official

Half the Illegal Weapons in El Salvador Come from US: Official

According to a US official, around half of the illegal weapons circulating in El Salvador come from the United States. This black market trade may be facilitated by the MS13 gang, which has a presence in both countries. Read More

El Salvador Profile

El Salvador

El Salvador

El Salvador is a relatively small but growing player in the drug trafficking business, serving as a recipient and storage point along the Pacific Coast, and a bridge via the Pan-American Highway, the Fonseca Gulf, and small roads from Honduras that cut across the relatively unpopulated mountains. Local transport groups have their roots in the country’s civil war, when many ran weapons and contraband from Honduras and Nicaragua to the rebel groups. These networks now service larger criminal gangs, mostly from Mexico, moving drugs from as far south as Panama. Compounding the country’s problems are powerful street gangs, known as “maras,” which help make El Salvador one of the most dangerous places in the world, with a homicide rate of 69.2 per 100,000 in 2011 according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Significant drops in the homicide rate were registered in 2012 following a gang truce negotiated by the government, with national police reporting 2,576 murders compared to 4,371 in 2011.

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More El Salvador News

  • Half the Illegal Weapons in El Salvador Come from US: Official

    According to a US official, around half of the illegal weapons circulating in El Salvador come from the United States. This black market trade may be facilitated by the MS13 gang, which has a presence in both countries.

  • El Salvador: A Murder, A Bogus Investigation, An Army Cover-Up?

    Colonel Carlos Alfredo Rivas Najarro is one of the more progressive figures in El Salvador's military, although he never voiced his opinions very publicly. But after his son was mysteriously killed, he became convinced that the armed forces had played a role in planning and covering up the murder. This is the second in a two-part series.

  • Murder of Colonel's Son Raises Questions Over Role of El Salvador's Military

    Colonel Carlos Rivas Najarro

    Colonel Carlos Alfredo Rivas Najarro is one of the more progressive figures in El Salvador's military, although he never voiced his opinions very publicly. But after his son was mysteriously killed, he became convinced that the armed forces had played a role in planning and covering up the murder. This is the first in a two-part series. 

  • Did Narco-Linked El Salvador Congressman Plan Hit on Top Prosecutor?

    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.

  • How El Salvador Handed its Prisons to the Mara Street Gangs

    September 2 was the 10th anniversary of the decision of El Salvador's government to assign exclusive jails to the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs. The measure is now considered by academics and researchers as one that facilitated the evolution of the gangs, but very few opposed it while it was happening. Now, the question is whether reversing the segregation is viable or not. 

  • Rival El Salvador Gangs Announce 'Phase 2' of Truce

    Gangs in El Salvador have announced a new phase of their 2012 truce, committing to end attacks between rival groups and against the security forces, but it is unlikely that the current government will be willing to follow the path of its predecessor and offer concessions to the warring groups in exchange for a reduction in violence.

  • El Salvador Investigates both Sets of Gang Truce Negotiators

    El Salvador's attorney general has confirmed that his office is investigating the actions of both sets of negotiators in the country's gang truce, suggesting there will be no more semi-official attempts at mediation with gangs under the new administration.

  • El Salvador Gangs Teach Honduras Counterparts Secret Codes

    Imprisoned gang leaders in Honduras are receiving instructions from their counterparts in El Salvador on how to transmit coded messages, reported El Heraldo, highlighting the collaboration between gangs in the two countries.

  • Alleged Salvadoran Kingpin 'Chepe Diablo' Clears Tax Debt

    Alleged Texis Cartel founder "Chepe Diablo" has nearly completed paying off his tax evasion debt to the government, and there is still no sign that the Salvadoran government intends to bring drug charges against the US-designated kingpin.

  • El Salvador Anti-Mafia Judges Arrested For Ties to Organized Crime

    Authorities in El Salvador have arrested three anti-mafia judges accused of accepting bribes from organized crime groups, highlighting the corruption that plagues the country's judicial system and allows impunity to flourish.