U.S.-El Salvador Citizen Security: A Shared Responsibility

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 22, 2011

As a key component of the larger Central America Citizen Security Partnership, and through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), we are continuing to support El Salvador’s efforts to address its most pressing citizen safety challenges. The United States is working closely with El Salvador to disrupt the activities of transnational gangs, interdict the northward flow of narcotics trafficked to the United States, and prevent the flow of weapons and illicit proceeds from the United States to criminal organizations in El Salvador and the region. U.S. programs in Central America support efforts to increase the flow and sharing of information, assisting El Salvador in its efforts to more effectively coordinate its activities and transnational criminal investigations with its neighbors.

Transnational Gangs

  • The United States and El Salvador are partnering in extensive bilateral cooperation to identify, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal gangs that operate in El Salvador, with an emphasis on the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street Gangs.
  • The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation supports the Salvadoran National Police special Transnational Anti-Gang unit, which works with Salvadoran and U.S. prosecutors to investigate and prosecute top criminal gang leaders, seize their assets, and identify transnational linkages of gang operations in the United States and El Salvador.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is implementing gang prevention programs in marginalized urban areas within El Salvador to provide safe spaces for at-risk youth, in addition to providing vocational and educational opportunities, as well as rehabilitation assistance for youth who have left gangs.

Firearms Trafficking, Stockpile Management, and Destruction

  • The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives deployed a Regional Firearms Advisor to San Salvador to assist El Salvador and the nations of Central America to support firearms tracing and interdiction efforts in the region.
  • The United States has trained Salvadoran law enforcement personnel in the use of the U.S. e-Trace application, a web-based system that allows Salvadoran investigators to trace weapons suspected of having originated in the United States, thereby supporting the disruption of transnational firearms trafficking rings.
  • The United States is providing assistance to El Salvador that enables it to better control, secure, and destroy excess national stockpiles of weapons.

Border Security and Domain Awareness

  • The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection is providing technical assistance, training, and equipment to strengthen the ability of Salvadoran law enforcement, customs, and immigration authorities to disrupt the movement of contraband and criminals across El Salvador’s borders.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration supports El Salvador’s efforts to dismantle domestic and transnational narcotics trafficking rings, as well as the interdiction of narcotics, chemical precursors, and the seizure of the proceeds of narcotics sales returning to source countries.
  • The Department of Defense’s U.S. Southern Command and Joint Interagency Task Force – South are providing El Salvador with maritime interdiction craft and enhanced communications capabilities to enable El Salvador to more effectively police its territorial waters, and coordinate its activities with its neighbors.

Community-Based Crime Prevention Activities

  • The United States government is supporting “Model Precincts” in high-crime areas of El Salvador. The precincts provide training to new police academy graduates in community policing techniques with the goal of building public trust in the police and increase community involvement in identifying areas of crime.
  • USAID is strengthening municipal governments to reduce communities’ vulnerability to organized crime and gang activity by forming “Municipal Crime Prevention Committees” including government, private sector, and civil society stakeholders.

Bulk Cash Smuggling, Financial Crimes, and Asset Forfeiture

  • DHS is providing hands-on training to Salvadoran law enforcement partners for the identification and targeting of southbound bulk cash smuggling.

Police Professionalization

  • The U.S.-funded International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), based in San Salvador, provides Salvadoran and Central American law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges with a range of mid-level professional development and management training opportunities.

PRN: 2011/435