More than two dozen law enforcement agents from the United States and Central America will participate this month in a training program to combat transnational gangs, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Fifteen officers from Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama visited the FBIAcademy in Quantico, Virginia, last week for three days of preliminary training. The program officially kicked off early this week as the international officers joined the 12 U.S. participants in Charlotte, North Carolina. The group will travel to Los Angeles, California, and then to El Salvador, two leading meccas for violent youth gangs.
This is the second of such international training programs, known as the Central American Law Enforcement Exchange (CALEE).
“The most effective way to combat transnational gangs – such as Mara Salvatrucha (commonly called MS-13) in Central American and 18th Street in Los Angeles – is through collaboration with our partners and cooperative intelligence sharing,” Assistant Director Kevin Perkins, of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement. “Through programs like CALEE, we are forging valuable relationships that will positively impact our ability to work together across international boundaries.”
According to the FBI, gaps in communications between governments frequently allow criminals to move across borders and commit crimes with virtual anonymity.
The training comes as the U.S. announced it will increase spending in this region to stem drug trafficking and money laundering.