Thursday, November 5, 2015

Militarization of MS-13

A quote from the White Paper:

"The MS-13 in El Salvador is significantly enhancing its weapons capacities, transitioning away from a dependence on handguns via the acquisition of automatic rifles such as AK-47s, along with grenades, rocket propelled grenade launchers, and Light Anti-Tank Weapons.

Most of the weaponry is procured through theft or purchase from the military, or from existing arsenals in Nicaragua. Some of the weapons are passed on to TOCs, particularly the Mexicans, in exchange for cash and/or small quantities of cocaine and crack that are sold in the local markets.

The gangs have taken advantage of government gun-buy-back programs to turn in old and worthless weapons, using the income to buy higher quality weapons in smaller quantities.

There are credible reports from multiple sources regarding MS-13 involvement in the protection and movement of SAM 7s from Nicaragua to a 10 clandestine arms market that operates in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador, an area dominated by hardline former combatants of the Communist Party faction of the FMLN during the war.

There have been important efforts, many of them successful, by Los Zetas to recruit the best and most skilled MS-13 killers and gunmen, both in El Salvador and Guatemala. Many of the recruits receive enhanced military training in the Petén region of Guatemala and then operate either in Guatemala or Mexico.. . "


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