Senior law enforcement officials from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced criminal charges in Central America against more than 700 members of transnational criminal organizations, primarily MS-13 and 18th Street gangs, which resulted from a one-week coordinated law enforcement action under Operation Regional Shield (ORS).
ORS began in 2017 and is a Justice Department-led initiative to combat transnational organized crime that brings together gang prosecutors and investigators from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the United States. Through quarterly meetings, this group has coordinated multi-country investigations and simultaneous takedowns throughout the region.
Authorities also announced the arrest of 36 individuals in El Salvador and Honduras involved in human smuggling networks that span Central America and the United States. Among those arrested in Honduras, include one police commissioner, one police deputy inspector, and three law enforcement agents. All arrestees were charged with human smuggling, money laundering and illegal association to commit a crime. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr, Attorney General Raul Melara of El Salvador, Attorney General María Consuelo Porras Argueta of Guatemala, and the Attorney General of Honduras, Oscar Fernando Chinchilla, through the Public Ministry’s Press Office.