Costa Rican authorities arrested on Friday a Salvadoran man who they identified as the alleged “leader” of a clique (cell) of the MS-13 gang in El Salvador, reported the Migration Police.
The detainee, surnamed Escobar Mojica, was arrested at the Peñas Blancas border post, on the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, almost 300 km northwest of San José.
“After an exhaustive investigation with international contacts, it was established that he belongs to MS-13 and that he is the leader of one of the cliques accepted in El Salvador,” said Enrique Arguedas, director of the Costa Rican Migration Police.
The authorities temporarily imprisoned the alleged gang member and he will be deported to El Salvador in the next few days, according to Immigration.
Dozens of gang members are seeking to leave El Salvador to escape the “frontal war” declared on them last March by President Nayib Bukele.
At Bukele’s request, the Salvadoran Congress established a state of emergency on March 31 last year in response to an escalation of homicides attributed to gangs, which between March 25 and 27 claimed the lives of 87 people. According to official data, the gangs controlled 80% of the territory.
Questioned by international humanitarian organizations, the emergency regime allows detentions without judicial order.
So far, the Secretariat of Communications of the Presidency of El Salvador counts 61,000 alleged gang members captured, including 900 gang leaders.