Salvadoran prosecutor's office confirms arrest of 14 police officers linked to hitmen network


SAN SALVADOR (Sputnik) – The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) of El Salvador confirmed the arrest of 14 active police officers and four retirees within an extermination group dedicated to the hired killer in this Central American nation, which was dismantled during the past dawn in several joint operations.

"We have dismantled a network accused of committing 48 homicides and of integrating illicit associations in the departments of Morazán (east) and San Miguel (west), within which there are 14 active police officers and four pillages, all duly captured," he said in press conference the head of the FGR, Raúl Melara.
The attorney general said that those arrested are accused of having committed 48 homicides, and among them are the father and brother of the pillage Joshua "Samurai" Castle, designated as the murderer of agent Carla Ayala, on December 29, 2017, and a fugitive from justice since then.
"All these crimes have been committed by people who had to protect society. We will be relentless in the prosecution of crime by terrorist organizations. The State is respected," Melara emphasized by exposing detainees to the media.

The defendants wore military or police clothing, and simulated raids to enter the victims' homes, which were deprived of liberty and killed with firearms and white weapons, sometimes in the same residence.

A journalistic investigation of the Factum Magazine denounced a couple of years ago the existence of these extermination groups within the Armed Forces of El Salvador (FAES) and the National Civil Police (PNC), but the previous government authorities denied it.

"We are sending a strong message that we are not going to allow groups to operate outside the law, the State's institutions are respected," said the current Minister of Justice and Public Security, Rogelio Rivas, when accompanying Melara on Monday.

The head of Security insisted on the ultimatum launched by President Nayib Bukele, who warned that in his administration criminals can only opt for jail or death.

The arrests were made in eastern El Salvador by agents of the Elite Division against Organized Crime and the FGR Specialized Anti-Homicide Unit.
With these operations, 20 individual homicides, one fivefold, one quadruple, two triple and six doubles were resolved, in addition to 18 aggravated homicides tempted and three deprivations of liberty, all against members of criminal structures.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Latin America, a heritage of the civil war that bled the country between 1980 and 1992 and accentuated by the territorial struggles of the "maras" (gangs) Salvatrucha, 18 Sureños and 18 Revolutionaries, among others .

The Bukele administration launched on June 20 the Territorial Control plan, which starts from a repressive approach and has already managed to reduce the daily average of homicides, with several days without reporting murders in El Salvador.

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