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El Salvador and Mexico to expand crime-fighting efforts

March 4, 2011

SAN SALVADOR – The attorneys general of El Salvador and Mexico agreed this week to share information to bolster efforts by both countries to fight crime and organized crime groups.

“Mexico has placed all the experience acquired in areas like scientific evidence at the disposal of El Salvador,” the Salvadoran Attorney General’s Office said in a statement on the meeting between Attorney General Romeo Barahona and his Mexican counterpart, Arturo Chavez.

“The two officials agreed on the need to strengthen the exchange of information in a direct, secure and expeditious manner,” the Salvadoran AG’s office said.

The attorneys general proposed “utilizing services that offer new technologies, including encrypted messages and documents, video conferences and other specific networks” to improve the exchange of information between the agencies, which are in charge of investigating crimes, the AG’s office said.

The Mexican attorney general expressed interest in sending a team of prosecutors to El Salvador “to learn firsthand about dealing with extortion” and the problem of street gangs, which officials blame for most of the killings and other serious crimes in the Central American country, the statement said.

President Mauricio Funes and other Salvadoran officials have said that gangs such as Los Zetas, the former armed wing of Mexico’s Gulf drug cartel, are operating in Guatemala and Honduras, and have now entered El Salvador to “explore.”

“They have done some exploring, made some contacts, probably with some street gangs, or with some of the drug cartels that operate in the country, to decide whether or not to operate in El Salvador,” Funes said last April.

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