Dozens of MS-13 gang members arrested

First entry: Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 07:00

Authorities in El Salvador announced on Tuesday that dozens of people, including a mayor, had been arrested in the eastern part of the country for allegedly being members of the fearsome gang known as Mara Salvatrouca (MS-13) – one of the most powerful criminal organizations , which sows terror in this Central American state- or collaborated with it.

“We are sending a strong message to organized crime, we have arrested a whole network of 110 people,” said Justice and Home Affairs Minister Rochelio Rivas, according to a presidential press release uploaded to her official Twitter account.

Of the 110 people arrested, most are said to be gang members and are accused of murder and extortion for the purpose of extorting money. He is among 322 people arrested in the southeastern districts of Usulutan, San Miguel, La Union and Morassan, according to the attorney general’s office.

Among those arrested yesterday was Riel Werner Martines, mayor of El Transido, 130 kilometers east of the capital San Salvador, who is accused of being the man who carried out the killings of two members of the city council by MS-13 members among himself. August 2018 and April 2019.

Other El Trancito officials were also arrested for allegedly “involved” in the killings, Attorney General Raul Melara said on Twitter. He added that those arrested included two Usulutan district court officials.

According to the Rivas minister, several MS-13 leaders were arrested as part of the operation.

“With this operation, we are dealing a severe blow to the criminal structures operating in the eastern part of the country,” the attorney general assured.

El Salvador (6.6 million inhabitants) is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with the exception of war zones: in 2019, the homicide rate rose to 35.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Most of these killings are attributed to gangs or marathoners.

The Maras number about 70,000 members in El Salvador, 17,000 of whom are in prison.