In less than 6 months, El Savador has arrested roughly 50,000 gang members

Country has eliminated arrest warrants, upped sentences for gang activity

Updated: August 17, 2022 - 3:21pm

El Savador has arrested roughly 50,000 gang members in the five months since the country launched a major offensive against criminal groups there, law enforcement figures said this week. 

Mauricio Arriaza, the director of the National Civil Police, told media on Tuesday that the country has "already reached 50,000 recorded detentions during the period of the emergency regime" established by President Nayib Bukele in March. 

That "emergency regime" did away with arrest warrants for suspected criminal gang participants; it also increases prison sentences for gang activity to a whopping 45 years. 

Justice Minister Gustavo Villatoro said the effects of the emergency procedures "have been overwhelming" and "have had a strong impact on these terrorist structures" within the country. 

Among the most notable gangs in the country is Maria Salvatrucha, the Los Angeles-born gang known for its brutal tactics including torture and beheading.

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