Salvadoran Police Arrest Twenty-Eight Gang Members for Homicide and Extortion

By Dialogo
August 27, 2009

San Salvador, 27 August (EFE).- The National Civil Police (PNC) of El Salvador reported the arrest of twenty-eight gang members suspected in various cases of homicide and extortion that have taken place in three departments in recent months. The PNC’s Assistant Director of Investigations, Commissioner Augusto Coto, explained to the press that between Wednesday night and early this morning, agents from the Anti-Extortion Task Force, with support from the Attorney General’s Office, carried out a large-scale arrest operation in the department of La Paz, in the center of the country. The source said that in this department, twelve members of the “Mara 18” gang were arrested on the basis of a dozen alleged cases of extortion, and that another sixteen members of the “Mara Salvatrucha” (MS) gang, accused of “ten different homicides and a case of assault,” were apprehended in the departments of San Miguel, in the east, and Santa Ana, in the west. He added that nine gang members already in prison will also be investigated for the crime of extortion, so that, according to Coto, “an important ring of gang members who were specializing in this crime in this region has been broken up.” MS and Mara 18, rival organizations, are the largest gangs operating in El Salvador, and the authorities accuse them of perpetrating the majority of crimes reported in the country. EFE