El Salvador’s Death Squads

March 12, 2018 Crime , North America , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

Reuters photo



Ricardo Swire



Enhanced Caribbean national intelligence data portrays El Salvador as a drug trafficking epicenter awash with illegal guns. The smallest Central American country’s criminal gangs clash constantly and violently, the value of life appearing cheap and murder sewn to the fabric of society. In the summer of 2015 “Los Exterminio” or the private Death Squad, unofficially supported by senior military, high-level police and prominent businessmen, achieved notoriety in Salvadorian communities.


The state’s “Iron Fist” methodology, implemented to combat criminal gangs, merged military operations with law enforcement. In February 2010 El Salvador’s national intelligence apparatus began to map murders committed by military Anti-Gang Death Squads. Reports that year noted hooded attackers shot dead seven unarmed young men bathing in a Milingo county river. Four days later five construction workers and several students, mistaken for gang members, were killed in a Tonacatepeque restaurant by a Death Squad.


The executioners’ theatre of operations, weapons, method of ambush, dress, unique style, ability and determination, personified commando characteristics and combat training. El Salvador’s military Anti-Gang Death Squads were once primary focus of the United States Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence. The US Central Intelligence Agency,supported by “Military Advisors”, organized, financed and trained El Salvador’s Army Intelligence Units established for counter-intelligence purposes.


Commanded by two Colonels the National Intelligence Agency’s high walled army-guarded building located in the capital San Salvador, coordinates operations in San Vicente and La Union provinces. Trends outlined both Colonels’ constant contact with the local US Embassy’s CIA Station Chief. Similarly qualified Salvadoran military personnel privately support Anti-Gang Death Squads that have tortured and killed innocent residents. El Salvador’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Office’s Legal Protection Division possesses evidence and records that support the charges.


On June 3, 2016 soldiers from diverse units were deployed to find unidentified gunmen, who twelve days earlier infiltrated the Army Chief Financial Officer’s private residence in San Jorge town of Apaneca, Ahuachapán. The intruders stole personal belongings that included a gun, US$600 cash and several mobile phones. Not long ago the country’s Attorney-General Office (FGR) concluded an internal security probe. Three senior Army officers who coordinated one Anti-Gang Death Squad, responsible for the torture and executions of several gang members, were unmasked.


One National Civil Police Director’s report noted between 2014 and 2016 fifteen soldiers participated in Anti-Gang Death Squads that murdered thirty-six residents and robbed banks. Central American “Death Squad” activity is also known as “Social Cleansing.” In one government offensive against military Anti-Gang Death Squads, from February 20, 2017 to August 21, 2017, FGR investigators wiretapped phone conversations between two suspect Army Colonels and a Lieutenant.


The digital audio recordings verified existence of a secret, unsanctioned, Army Information & Analysis Battalion (BIAE) rogue section. In June 2017 these shadowy military intelligence operatives were accused of torturing two Apaneca district residents in the western department of Ahuachapán. Several unsolved murders also accredited to this BIAE eight-member Anti-Gang Death Squad. In one FGR surveillance tape the Lieutenant is heard confirming BIAE members’ involvement in two executions in El Porvenir village, San Diego, where the corpses of four male youths were found.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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