Police in El Salvador round up hundreds of alleged MS-13 members

Salvadoran police and prosecutors moved against the gang MS-13 this week in an operation across the nation.   Authorities indicated they were arresting more than 400 gang members in another attempted blow at the finances of the gang.   Authorities seized weapons, property, drugs and vehicles associated with the gang.

Some notes to help you understand this news:

1.   Salvadoran authorities have a tendency to arrest many more subjects than they actually have proof against.

2.   Prior mass raids have not had any measurable effect on levels of crime and violence in the country so far as I can tell.

3.   A question being raised is why authorities have only staged these large scale raids aimed at finances of the gang MS-13.   To date, there has not been a similar attack on the two "18" gangs -- 18-revolucionarios and 18-sureños.   Authorities say only that they combat all criminal groups andonly make such raids when they are prepared to do so.

4.   Although proof might not exist, those caught up in sweeps will be incarcerated for years in hellish conditions in prisons for gang members because pre-trial release is highly unusual in El Salvador and gang members are kept in high security prisons subject to the now normal, "exceptional measures."