Alleged Salvadoran Kingpin ‘Chepe Diablo’ Clears Tax Debt

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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.

Jose Adan Salazar Umaña, alias “Chepe Diablo,” has nearly paid off over $1 million in personal taxes and taxes owed on his hotel chain, which date back to 2010 and 2011, reported La Prensa Grafica.

In June, Salazar’s lawyers reportedly set up a plan in which the debt would be paid in six installments to the Salvadoran Housing Ministry. While the plan was originally set to run until November, his lawyers have said the final payment will be made this week.

Salazar was charged with tax evasion in April, along with two other alleged Texis Cartel associates. He initially challenged the validity of the charges, before later agreeing to pay the debt in full, provided it could be proved through an audit that he owed the money.

InSight Crime Analysis

The case against Salazar came amid signs authorities were closing in on the long-untouchable Texis Cartel, including the 2013 arrest of one founder on car theft charges and the detention of 16 more alleged members of the network shortly after. A month after Salazar was charged with tax evasion, the US Treasury Department added him to its “Kingpin List.”

SEE ALSO: Chepe Diablo Profile

While the US designation was likely meant to increase pressure on Salvadoran authorities to go after top-level criminals in the network, it does not appear to have worked. 

Earlier this month, Salvadoran Attorney General Luis Martinez said that the authorities lacked evidence to charge high-ranking Texis Cartel leaders for drug trafficking. A media source told InSight Crime that Martinez planned to investigate Salazar for money laundering, but not drug trafficking.

The source said the case had been “riddled with contradictions,” both in regards to the different information presented by US and Salvadoran authorities, and previous statements made by the Salvadoran government itself.

Salazar has close ties with El Salvador’s political and business elite, which may discourage the authorities from taking further action against him. However, it is also plausible that the United States has kept evidence against the alleged kingpin out of Salvadoran hands, in the hopes of building an extradition case against Salazar.

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