Experts have reportedly warned that El Salvador’s current crackdown on violent criminals, which has resulted in the detention of thousands of individuals believed to be members of gangs in a brand-new mega-prison, may cause those who are still free to abandon the troubled nation and move north.
🇸🇻 | Nayib Bukele, con mano dura somete a miles de pandilleros y criminales que antes aterrorizaban a la población de El Salvador. ¿Estás de acuerdo con el trato que les da el Presidente Bukele a los delincuentes? pic.twitter.com/iJQWWr5akt
— Eduardo Menoni (@eduardomenoni) February 26, 2023
Towards the end of the previous month, government officials sent hundreds of inmates to the Terrorist Confinement Facility in Tecoluca, which is El Salvador’s newest maximum security prison located in the country’s central region.
As they were relocated to the new jail complex, disturbing video footage showed lines of naked, severely tattooed, and shaved-headed convicts running bent over and tied.
The crackdown has resulted in more gang members being arrested.
While the news may be an overall positive thing for El Salvador it may be bad news for its northern neighbors as the move has caused the gangs to relocate farther north.
Several of the more prominent members of the notoriously dangerous MS-13 gang have already made their way into Mexico.
Throughout the course of the past year, the police in Mexico have claimed that there has been a greater presence of members of gangs affiliated with El Salvador, such as MS-13 and their competitor, the 18th Street gang.
At least three drivers for public transit in Mexico were recently killed by gunfire by members of Salvadoran gangs, who have began to terrorize and extort the drivers in Mexico.
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies warned that the gang leaders would also head even further north, to the United States.
“They can make more money here and enjoy themselves more here, and there are many new places for them to set up shop for the gang, and many vulnerable youth to recruit,” Vaughan claimed.
“Right now it’s not difficult for them to get in. There is much less threat of border and interior enforcement than in prior years, especially if they have not been in the United States before.” she continued.
In recent years, members of MS-13 have been involved in the illegal trafficking of people and have also provided protection for drug cartels.
It is possible that their increased presence in Mexico will make an already perilous situation much worse.