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HomeCentral AmericaEl SalvadorEl Salvador Police Detain Prominent Barrio 18 Gang Front Person

El Salvador Police Detain Prominent Barrio 18 Gang Front Person

On Tuesday, the Salvadoran police detained a 60-year-old woman in the west of the Central American country, identified as one of the “largest front persons” of the Barrio 18 gang, dedicated to extortion.

The National Civil Police (PNC) indicated on their account on the social network X that after an intelligence operation and investigations in Sonsonate (west), they captured María del Tránsito Chávez de Escuintla, 60 years old, who was one of the largest front persons of the (Barrio) 18 gang.

The authorities “froze” her bank accounts and seized 19 vehicles from her, in addition to confiscating cash, 14 cell phones, and vehicle purchase and sale documents. The PNC stated that “the detainee was in charge of the administration” of the vehicles that, allegedly, “had been acquired” by Barrio 18 with money from extortion and that “she will not take advantage of Salvadorans again, she will be sent to prison.”

According to the authorities, Chávez is the mother of two “dangerous” gang members who are already serving prison sentences in the so-called Center for the Confinement of Terrorism (Cecot), which is considered the “largest prison in America” with a capacity for 40,000 inmates and is a symbol of President Nayib Bukele’s crusade against gangs.

Bukele’s government is criticized by human rights organizations for establishing a state of emergency in force since March 2022, on which its offensive against gangs is based and which has led to more than 80,000 detainees without judicial orders, accused of being gang members.

The Barrio 18 gang, with its two factions (Revolutionaries and Southerners), operates mainly in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, where it has been hit by Bukele’s policies and is an enemy of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), which similarly causes terror in the region.

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