SAN SALVADOR – The Salvadoran government on Wednesday transferred to a maximum security prison 27 members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang accused of murdering police officers and soldiers, authorities said.
The General Directorate of Penal Centers (DGCP) said that the gang members had been held in various police jails and other penal institutions.
“They were arrested in recent days thanks to the investigations performed by the intelligence units of the security institutions,” said the DGCP in a statement.
The agency added that this is the third transfer of MS13 members to the maximum security prison since November 2016, when the country experienced a wave of killings of cops and soldiers that tarnished the recent drop in violent deaths.
The DGCP said that “a series of measures against these structures will continue” and the authorities “will not rest in the fight against crime.”
So far this year, two police officers have been murdered in the Central American country and a total of 47 cops and 20 soldiers were murdered during 2016.
According to official figures, about 64 percent of the 303 homicides of members of the Salvadoran security forces between 2011 and 2016 were carried out by gangs.
El Salvador is beset by the Barrio 18, MS13 and other smaller gangs that the government accuses of keeping the crime rate high, which in turn makes the country one of the world’s most violent.