GUATEMALA CITY – Twelve gang members will be tried for killing four police officers who had been jailed on charges of slaying three Salvadoran lawmakers earlier this year, a judge said May 12.
Judge Miriam Méndez told reporters that “there is sufficient evidence” to try the 12 Mara Salvatrucha gang members, who were also jailed at the maximum-security El Boqueron prison where the quadruple murder was carried out in late February.
According to prosecutors, the gang members evaded the prison’s security measures through the complicity of other people and killed the National Civil Police officers with firearms, knives and other sharp objects.
The accused were implicated on the basis of testimony from other inmates, who said they had seen the gang members carry out the murders. In addition, tests with luminol showed the escape route used by the supposed killers.
According to prosecutors, the murder of the officers was part of a “well structured” plan in which other people – whose identities have not yet been established – also participated.
The slaying of the four officers, Luis Arturo Herrera, Jose Korki Lopez, José Adolfo Gutierrez and Marvin Langen Escobar, occurred on Feb. 25, just days after they had been jailed in connection with the murders a week earlier of three Salvadoran deputies to the Central American Parliament and their driver (NT, March 2).
The charred bodies of legislators Eduardo D’Aubuisson,William Pichinte and Jose Ramon González, as well as police officer Gerardo Ramírez, were found Feb. 19 on a remote section of the highway that links the Guatemalan capital to El Salvador.
In addition to the officers slain in prison, five supposed members of a drug-trafficking gang were arrested in April for the murder of the politicians.