The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, celebrated on Wednesday the arrest of another of the fifteen leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha, the main gang operating in the country, Byron Aristides Salazar, alias ‘Sleepy’.
Bukele has told on Twitter that ‘Sleepy’ is one of the ringleaders of this criminal organization, which has up to 430 cells throughout the Salvadoran territory, in a state of emergency since it was decreed last March to combat a new wave of homicides.
Salazar is the ninth leader of the Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, to be arrested in recent times. Bukele has also used the issue to take aim at some of the detractors of his security policies. “The NGOs will come out and ask for human rights for this murderer,” he ironized.
Six other gang leaders are unaccounted for, although most of them could even be out of the country, possibly in Mexico, according to the Minister of Justice and Security, Gustavo Villatoro, a month ago.
Among the fugitives is Élmer Canales Rivera, alias “Crook,” one of the gang’s leading figures, who was illegally released by Salvadoran government authorities in November 2021, according to an investigation by El Faro.
Audios reveal that the director of Tejido Social, Carlos Marroquín, personally helped ‘Crook’ to reach Guatemala, from where he is suspected to have headed to Mexico. The government has yet to comment on these investigations.