On the surface, former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's 9-year sentence for corruption seems reminiscent of numerous corruption cases targeting former or current presidents in Latin America. But behind the accusations are varying degrees of collusion and control, from heading a criminal enterprise to a one-off criminal act of personal enrichment.
A case against the MS13 operating in El Salvador's capital city shows how the gang's money laundering side is getting more sophisticated, even as it remains reliant on violence for control of its revenue streams.
Fourteen members of the US Congress, including Democrats and Republicans, signed a letter on June 21 in which they called upon the Treasury Department to open an official investigation of Salvadoran political leader and current Vice Minister of Foreign Relations José Luis Merino for "long-standing associations with transnational organized criminal networks [that] are the subject of US criminal investigations."
Representatives of three US federal law enforcement agencies were unable to offer the Senate Judiciary Committee any conclusive evidence of links (beyond isolated cases) between groups of unaccompanied minors who arrived in the United States since 2012 and the recent increase in crimes attributed to the MS13 gang in several cities around the country.