El Salvador Gets Another Chance to Prosecute MS13 Affiliate ‘Medio Millon’

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El Salvador’s recent capture of Jose Misael Rodriguez Cisneros, alias “Medio Millon” is the second time El Salvador’s Attorney General’s Office has arrested him. 

Salvadoran National Police announced the arrest of Medio Millon (Spanish for “Half-a-Million”) on charges of money laundering over Twitter. 

Agents arrested two others who were with him and raided homes and properties throughout El Salvador where they found luxury cars, guns and money. Some of the cars also tested positive for traces of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, El Diaro de Hoy reported.

Authorities believe Medio Million and his associates laundered money by purchasing cars and properties in different names as well as through front companies, the report added. 

In 2013, the United States Treasury Department put Medio Millon and five leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) on its kingpin list, which freezes their bank accounts and exacts sanctions on anyone who does business with them. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The case points to the difficulty Salvadoran authorities have in prosecuting high level criminals. Medio Millon was arrested before but absolved by the courts of murder charges in 2012 and racketeering in 2014.

In a similar case, Moris Alexander Bercian Manchon, alias “El Barney,” has been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department, yet local authorities have been unable to prosecute him despite having once caught him with seven kilos of cocaine and suspecting him of involvement in at least 50 homicides. 

Medio Millon is a bit of an enigma, causing confusion and possible rifts between the Salvadoran and US governments. While local authorities and the US government have called him an MS13 leader, he has acted more as a bridge between the gang and other criminal groups, and gang members have told InSight Crime that he is not a member of the MS13.

Most closely associated with the MS13 clique known as the Fulton Locos Salvatrucha, US authorities believe Medio Million has supplied MS13 members with arms and acted as a connection to drug trafficking organizations like the secretive Texis Cartel. For their part, Salvadoran authorities have focused on money laundering.

          SEE MORE: Texis Cartel News and Profile

Still, when asked, Salvadoran Attorney General Luis Martinez said he had no idea why Medio Million was put on the US “Kingpin List,” which could be interpreted as a worrisome lack of coordination between the two governments.  

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