The president of El Salvador declares war on gangs: nearly 42,000 arrests of “maras” in three months

The president of El Salvador declares war on gangs: nearly 42,000 arrests of “maras” in three months

“According to the last count made on Thursday morning, there were 41,846 people arrested” as part of this vast offensive launched at the end of March, the magistrate told public television Canal 10.

Some 33,258 are “provisionally detained” for six months on instructions from the courts, while 8,588 others are awaiting a first appearance and 456 have been released because “they were not linked to the gangs”, he said. .

At the end of the first period of six-month pre-trial detention, the prosecution has the option of extending it for another six months, added Mr. Delgado.

Body tattoos, used by members to identify themselves with their “mara”, as well as drug seizures, are among the “evidence” held against the suspects, the attorney general said.

More than a thousand vehicles, presumed to have been bought with dirty money from racketeering in particular, were seized along with 821 firearms, 8,994 cell phones and $1.5 million in cash, according to the latest report established by the Department of Justice.

The “maras”, the two main ones being Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18, are said to have around 70,000 members, but Nayib Bukele is determined to get El Salvador off the list of countries with the highest crime rate, outside areas of conflict.

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