A new report seems to indicate that various branches of the MS13 gang in El Salvador attempted to pool their resources in order to fund an elite unit as a response to a government crackdown on their operations.
An October 11 article published by El Diario de Hoy reported that telephone conversations intercepted by Salvadoran authorities appear to show MS13 leaders plotting to train and equip the unit using funds derived from the criminal activities of the gang’s various “clicas,” or cliques. The conversations were intercepted as part of “Operación Jaque” (Operation Check), an ongoing investigation launched in 2015 that initially targeted the MS13‘s financial structures and continues to provide a vast amount of information concerning various aspects of the gang’s organization.
The Salvadoran Attorney General’s Office had previously filed a report in August 2016 alleging that suspected MS13 leader, Marvin Adaly Quintanilla Ramos, alias “Piwa,” had planned to create an elite unit composed of 500 gang members, with the two best foot soldiers from each of the gang’s 249 nationwide cliques being recruited, trained and equipped with high-powered rifles. The plan was apparently fomented as a response to the government’s decision to increase prison security measures, and in particular to cut off incarcerated gang leaders’ communications with the outside world.
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