Operation Link Narcos

AFP photo



Ricardo Swire



Another Central American high level military official has been identified as part of a sophisticated transnational organized crime syndicate. The Salvadorian Colonel was a secret associate of trafficking organization “Texis Cartel,” an underworld syndicate with a “business-like” approach to the drugs trade. In 2014 the Cartel’s chief executive officer “Chepe Diablo” became a designated member of the US “International Drug Kingpin” list.


On March 12, 2017 Salvadorian National Civil Police (PNC) counter-narcotics agents intercepted sixty kilos of Colombian cocaine belonging to the Texel Cartel, in a district called “El Poliedro,” on the outskirts of capital city San Salvador. The rogue Colonel was also aligned to Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The criminal group began as an enforcer network for the Gulf Cartel. At the time Los Zetas had thirty-one mercenaries trained by Mexican Special Forces (Grupos Aeromoviles de Fuerzas Especiales or GAFES).


The paramilitary drug syndicate introduced advanced tactics, tradecraft, and intelligence techniques to the trafficking landscape. In a perverse inversion of the “Train the Trainer” policy, beloved in military and police environments, Los Zetas specialists instructed neophyte military and police inductees. The group expanded by incorporating special operations defectors from the Guatemalan “Kaibiles,” a special jungle warfare wing of the national Armed Forces. Mexican Zetas are notorious for barbarization and use of infantry tactics. In 2016 El Salvador’s Prosecutor General of the Republic (FGR) launched “Operation Link Narcos.”


A series of cocaine interceptions and seizures in San Miguel and Sonsonate first highlighted the criminal empire. In the early morning hours of Monday April 30, 2018 a follow-up enforcement operation by FGR operatives, supported by National Civil Police (PNC) officers, dismantled three “criminal structures” nexus to Colombian and Central American trafficking cartels. Eighty-three raids accompanied by fifty arrest warrants were conducted in nine El Salvador departments. The interrupted criminal networks transported Colombian cocaine to El Salvador, primarily to satisfy the domestic market.


National surveillance and immigration records confirmed the Salvadoran Colonel visited Costa Rica “every fifteen days” to arrange drug deals. The military officer’s Colombian cocaine smuggling pattern crisscrossed Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras before arrival in El Salvador. “Operation Link Narcos” operatives additionally detained Salvadoran police officers, caught in a web of deception, using their law enforcement positions to assist drug trafficking operations. More than US$23,000, a cache of multi- calibre guns, vehicles, motorcycles and real estate in the community of Sonsonate along the Sensunapan River were confiscated.


Inside one seized Motocross Street, San Salvador, property Santeria religious paraphernalia and Black Magic candles, herbs, crystals and charms were found. Such materials are consistent with most Central American drug Traffickers’ belief. Operation Link Narcos operatives confiscated a San Jacinto residence in the district of San Miguel, San Salvador. The house contained various banking companies’ seals, tax reports, plus forged documents related to the law courts and local US Embassy.





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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