Central American Armed Forces Strengthen Joint Patrols to Fight Organized Crime
By Dialogo August 06, 2015Hi. Congratulations on the great job. Good luck to all of you and may nature protect you all. Very nice. I wish the Brazilian Army would control our borders. Very nice. Dealing with security is the biggest priority. Very good work integrating the Armed Forces, auxiliary forces and the 2016 Olympic organisation in Brazil. THE WORLD NEEDS TO COOPERATE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN GENERAL BECAUSE THIS AFFECTS THE WORLD ECONOMY. DRUGS, WEAPONS AND CONTRABAND IN GENERAL ARE EVIL AND NEED TO BE COMBATED AROUND THE WORLD.
Website http://derlyemarcelinho.com.br/ Without a doubt, drug trafficking in all its manifestations, variables and ramifications and expressions is a threat to national security anywhere it operates. In that sense, all efforts to eradicate it is progress. It is also important to gradually reduce drug use in societies with very high purchasing power, thank you.
Central American countries and the Dominican Republic are deploying elite teams from their Armed Forces to confront organized crime groups and disrupt illegal enterprises, such as drug trafficking, along their shared borders.
“We are performing coordinated patrols in vulnerable areas along our borders, thanks to the coordinated operations of our intelligence units,” Guatemalan Minister of Defense Manuel Augusto López said during his closing remarks at the 32nd Ordinary Meeting of the High Council for the Central American Armed Forces Conference (CFAC, for its Spanish acronym), held July 10 in Guatemala. CFAC's goal is to strengthen regional military integration; its permanent member countries are Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
Fighting drug trafficking and sharing information
Troops engaged in the initiative focus their efforts on combating the trafficking of drugs, weapons, and humans; they also share information on how criminal organizations operate, particularly those that are active along the Northern Triangle’s border areas.
That's a crucial component in the fight against large criminal enterprises that operate across borders: for example, there are about 1,987,000 illegal weapons circulating in the Central American region, according to the study, “Weapons Trafficking. Environment, legislative proposals, and public opinion,” published by the Center for Social and Public Opinion Studies (CESOP) of the Mexican House of Representatives. Among their traffickers: street gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (M-18), which also use the weapons to conduct crimes such as extortion and kidnapping.
“We are committed to continue confronting these gangs,” Salvadoran Minister of Defense David Munguía Payés pledged at the end of the meeting. “And in order to increase our operational readiness capabilities, we are also going to continue to train our troops using modern technology, always in compliance with the laws of our respective countries.”
Organized crime groups, including Mexican drug cartels, also traffic cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal narcotics through Central America as they make their way north to the United States, according to U.S. government reports. They transport their loads along the Pan-American Highway, beginning in Costa Rica, and often to Nicaragua. When they arrive at the Gulf of Fonseca, the drug-trafficking routes split through Honduras or El Salvador and then on to Guatemala.
Typically, such organizations transport cocaine and other illegal substances on narco-planes from drug-producing countries such as Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia, and ship the loads to Honduras. From there, organized crime operatives transport the drug loads by land to Guatemala and Mexico. That's why Central American countries are bolstering their defenses by sea, air, and ground.
Bolstering sea, air, and ground defenses
“Honduras is strengthening its maritime, air, and ground shields, joining its efforts to those of the other countries in the region,” Honduran Minister of Defense Samuel Armando Reyes said during the CFAC meeting. “This is allowing us to combat drug trafficking and organized crime more forcefully.”
In 2014, 60 percent of cocaine-smuggling flights that departed from South America first landed in Honduras – a decline from 75 percent of such flights in 2013, according to a U.S. government report.
“These joint efforts of our military forces have allowed Honduras to become hostile territory for drug traffickers. We know there is still hard work to do, but we are making good progress.”
One such step forward: the Armed Forces of Honduras and El Salvador approved planning groups for new border operations during the 15th Meeting of Commanders of Military Border Units under the CFAC, held on July 16 in the Honduran border town of Nuevo Ocotepeque.
“We want to progress further in combating terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, and gang activities along our borders. We will soon deploy our teams, and we will see results,” Cavalry Colonel Julio César Cerrato, Commanding Officer of Honduras’ 120th Infantry Brigade, said at the end of the meeting.
“The key to our success lies in continually sharing more and more military intelligence information through different mechanisms of modern technology,” Aviation Colonel Jimmy Rommel Ayala, Salvadoran Air Force representative, said to the CFAC. “We must keep moving forward to continue the decreases in these groups’ activities.”
In this context of joint military strategies against organized crime, Operation MARTILLO continues to be a significant component in a comprehensive regional focus on combating the use of the Central American Pacific coasts as transshipment areas for drugs and weapons.
Operation MARTILLO combines the forces of 10 countries in the Americas – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Canada, and the United States – along with France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
They work together to combat international drug trafficking, enhance regional security, and promote peace, stability, and prosperity throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.