Central America’s notorious street gangs, most notably Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Calle 18, are on the verge of evolving into major transnational crime organizations. That’s partly due to continuing to develop relationships with Mexican cartels, say government officials and independent observers in the region. The gangs’ transformation from loose associations of small-time criminals devoid of strategic long-term planning into more coherent syndicates has alarmed authorities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — all three of which are seeing the encroachment of Mexican cartels on their territories. The Honduran Congress in December overwhelming voted to follow a model used by Mexican President Felipe Calderón and deploy the army to combat organized crime. “This legislation will allow the armed forces to take on policing roles to confront organized crime and drug traffickers operating across the country,” said Congressman Oswaldo Ramos, a member of the country’s ruling Conservative Party. Honduran President Porfirio Lobo said that an earlier temporary deployment of the military to support the police in November resulted in a 36 percent drop in homicides for that month. On a per-capita basis, Honduras leads the world in homicides, with 82 murders per 100,000 inhabitants last year, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). The army deployment enjoys widespread popularity among Hondurans, say opinion surveys, with respondents telling pollsters they feel safer now that soldiers are patrolling the streets. Violence on the rise throughout ‘northern triangle’ The scale of the crime challenge is daunting for governments and law enforcement agencies throughout Central America’s “northern triangle.” That challenge was outlined by departing Guatemalan President Alvaro Colóm, who in a BBC interview said one of his biggest concerns were the alliances forming between transnational drug cartels and the street gangs, or “maras” that sell drugs at the retail level and are involved in robbery, kidnapping and extortion. Honduran Interior Minister Carlos Menocal has warned that Mexican cartels, such as Los Zetas, are supplying the maras with modern weaponry and coaching them in crime management skills. “Two and a half years ago, we could tell that the maras were still using makeshift rifles. Now they use AK-47s, Galils, AR-15s, machine guns with laser visors, plus 9mm and .40 brand new guns,” he told the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Guatemalan authorities estimate that between 1.2 million and 1.8 million weapons are in use in the country. The MS-13 was founded by Central American immigrants in the “barrios” of Los Angeles in the 1980s, and still has a major presence in California and several other U.S. states. MS-13 as well as its arch-rival, Calle 18, quickly expanded throughout Central America via deportees. By Dialogo December 19, 2011 The virulent growth of the gangs in Central America has been rapid. Estimates of the number of gang members across the region vary, from 70,000 to 100,000. UNDOC has cited country membership totals of some 10,500 in El Salvador, 36,000 in Honduras and 14,000 in Guatemala, though some academic observers argue the numbers may be higher. The seven nations of Central America are particularly susceptible to gang growth and violent crime because of an increase in drug trafficking, caught as they are “between the world’s largest drug-producing and drug-consuming countries,” according to UNODC’s report, “The Destabilizing Influence of Drug Trafficking on Transit Countries.” Other traits that make some Central American countries at risk are chaotic urbanization, growing youth populations and high unemployment rates, according to UNODC’s report. UNODC officials questioned a year ago whether the main gangs such as MS-13 and Calle-18 would become more involved in drug trafficking. And they suggested this was unlikely as most of the gang strongholds were inland and “far from the maritime routes along which most cocaine flows before arriving in Mexico.” Gangs become far more sophisticated Law enforcement authorities in El Salvador now say there are signs this is changing. While the gangs are still highly focused on their neighborhoods and on extortion and kidnapping, human trafficking and auto and weapons smuggling, they are also moving into transnational drug trafficking, possibly under the tutelage of Los Zetas. Salvadoran officials say that some MS-13 factions now control trafficking along the coast of the southwestern province of La Unión, especially the Gulf of Fonseca — a highly strategic location adjacent to Honduras and Nicaragua. MS-13 members have been extorting money from fishermen and businesses and using fast-speed boats to smuggle drugs, illegal aliens and guns. Also of concern to Salvadoran law enforcement is how this smuggling involves a high degree of planning and coordination between MS-13 factions, including the Heister, Coronados, Satellite and Pinos Locos Way groups, or cliques as they are known. “That means that these cliques and their leaders are becoming more sophisticated and ambitious,” said private security analyst Samuel Logan, who advises foreign businesses working in Central America. “Our intelligence suggests there are bulk drug shipments taking place. The area is strong with MS-13 trafficking,” Jesus Manuel Elías Barquero, a military commander in La Unión told reporters. He said the MS-13 factions involved seem intent on expanding their operations from the mainland to the islands of the Gulf of Fonseca. Naval officials agree. Capt. Juan Antonio Calderón said the Salvadoran Navy is increasing interdiction patrols in the Gulf of Fonseca, but he concedes that the MS-13 traffickers are managing to evade them. “We are trying to alter the way we conduct these patrols to make them more effective, [but] we do not rule out the possibility they are moving to the islands of the Gulf of Fonseca,” Calderón told reporters, adding that marine units are likely to moved into the area to help the interdiction effort. Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes acknowledged in an interview with reporters last year that, like Guatemala, his country was witnessing a tie-up between MS-13 and Mexican cartels, especially Los Zetas. He said he was becoming increasingly preoccupied with the struggle with both the gangs and outside crime organizations and cartels. “Just a few days after I came to office, I received an intelligence report saying that Los Zetas were exploring the territory and that they had started to make contacts with Salvadoran narcotraffickers and Salvadoran gangs, particularly the MS,” he said. “The change that has occurred lately is that the gangs have become involved in the business. At the beginning, the gangs were just a group of rebel youngsters. As time moved on, the gangs became killers for hire. Now the situation is that the gangs have become part of the whole thing.”
Tuesday, September 3, 2013â€¢1:20 a.m.Â Non-injury accident in the 400 block S. C, Wellington involving a vehicle operated by Tyler D. Booth, 23, Wellington and fixed objects/trees.â€¢1:20 a.m. Tyler D. Booth, 23, Wellington, was issued a notice to appear charged with consumption of alcohol in public.â€¢8:52 a.m. Officers investigated a theft of a check in the area of 5 Sunset, Wellington.â€¢9:14 a.m. Officers took a report of found property in the 200 block SE Lake Road, of Wellington Lake.â€¢10:28 a.m. Officers investigated a burglary theft and criminal damage to property in the 100 block W. Harvey, Wellington.â€¢8:11 p.m. Austin L. Mayo, 19, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with defective trailer lights.â€¢9:04 p.m. Officers investigated a theft of a propane tank in the 2000 block E. 16th, Wellington. Wellington Police notes for Monday, Sept. 2 to Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013Monday, September 2, 2013:â€¢2:28 a.m. Lisa M. Barnes, WF, 22, Wellington was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and driving left of center.â€¢2:28 a.m. William K. Schwandt, 30, Willmar, Minn. was arrested and charged with interference of law enforcement officers.â€¢11:02 a.m. Officers took a report of suspicious activity in the 200 block of W. Peachtree Lane, Wellington.â€¢5 p.m. Samantha M. Myers, 36, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with dogs at large, no proof of vaccinations and vicious dogs.â€¢5:05 p.m. Officers investigated vicious dogs, dogs at large, no proof of vaccinations and dog bite in the 600 block N. Poplar, Wellington.â€¢5:53 p.m. Officers investigated criminal damage to property in the 400 block S. Washington, Wellington.â€¢7:26 p.m. Linda L. Myers, 67, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with no proof of insurance and expired registration.â€¢9:43 p.m. Officers investigated a battery by a known suspect in the 1000 block W. College, Wellington.
Senator Brian O’Domhnaill carrying out consultation with fishermen over ‘draconian’ legislationFIANNA Fáil is carrying out a wide ranging public consultation with the fishing industry in over the next three days.The consultation is bein carried out by Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Brian Ó Domhnaill. Said Donegal Senator Ó Domhnaill: “The consultation will continue with meetings being held with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Fishing Representative Organisations and Fishermen to discuss the proposed Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction (Fixed Penalty Notice) Bill 2013 and to discuss other fisheries related issues”The Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill proposes:1. Stiff criminal sanctions for foreign sea fishing vessels which enter Irish exclusive fishing limits.2. Administrative penalties for first and second fishery offences by way of a prescribed notice which also reduces the upper limit fine to €400 for the 1st and €800 for the 2nd offence. 3. The option for a person in receipt of a penalty notice to appeal same to the Minister within a certain period.4. The establishment of an Independent Appeal Committee to be established by the Minister.5. A Consultative / Advisory Role in relation to administering such offences for the following organisations;a. Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI)b. The Marine Institutec. Inshore Fishermen’s Organisation d. Bord Iascaigh Mharae. Sea Fisheries Protection Authorityf. Killybeg’s Fishermen Organisationg. Irish South & West Fishermen’s Organisation Senator Ó Domhnaill concluded: “The fishing industry employs 12,000 people in this country and is worth €700 million to the economy.The industry must be fully supported in every way. This Bill forms a step in supporting the Irish fishing industry through common-sense changes to existing draconian legislation.”“The first meeting will take place tonight (Thursday) in Kinsale, County Cork in a series ofpublic meetings on this topic is being held in the South over the weekend.“These meetings are aimed at giving fisherman and coastal communities an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Bill.FF CONSULTS FISHERMEN OVER ‘DRACONIAN’ LEGISLATION was last modified: June 6th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:FF CONSULTS FISHERMEN OVER ‘DRACONIAN’ LEGISLATIONfianna failSEA FISHIRIES AND MARITIME JURISDICTION BILLSenator Brian O’Domhnaill
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