The mayors of Salvadoran cities linked to gangs

A recent article in La Prensa Grafica highlights the number of mayors of Salvadoran cities and towns who have been arrested and charged with collaborating with one or another of the country's criminal street gangs.   There have been seven mayors captured for these crimes since 2016.   They include the mayors of:

  • La Libertad
  • Ilopango
  • Apopa
  • Usulután
  • Puerto El Triunfo, Usulután
  • Jucuapa, Usulután
  • Concepción Batres, Usulután

The charges against the mayors vary from buying political support during their election campaigns, to assisting in gang extortion in municipal markets, to procuring murders. 

The common factor for all of these mayors, is that the gang presence is extensive in many areas of their respective municipalities.   It is not surprising that some of the mayors chose to coexist with the gangs in ways that illegally benefited both of them.

The article in La Prensa Grafica names one other mayor, Nayib Bukele, former mayor of San Salvador and now presidential candidate.   It is emblematic of the running feud between Bukele and the paper that the editorial staff decided to refer to an investigation by El Faro of Bukele which reported on links between Bukele and certain gangs in connection with his election campaign and the development of the new Mercado Cuscatlan.   Bukele may some day be charged with a crime in connection with those events, especially given his other ongoing feud with attorney general Douglas Melenedez, but as of today Bukele does not face the charges common to the other mayors on this list.