By Lorena Baires/Diálogo December 11, 2018 El Salvador has increased drug seizures in the last four years by boosting maritime interdiction operations, information exchange with international partners, and dismantling Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 structures. The operations that seek to counter organized crime resulted in the seizure of more than 25,000 kilograms of drugs, from 2015 to 2018. The Salvadoran Naval Force (FNES, in Spanish), the National Civil Police’s (PNC, in Spanish) Counter Narcotics Division, and the Office of the Attorney General take part in the constant fight. They work with support from the Migration General Directorate, the Ministry of Finance, the Autonomous Port Executive Commission, and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Each institution provides information to identify, detain, and prosecute members of criminal organizations. “Our people’s professional level and operational capabilities are high; we have equipment and technology to counter narcotrafficking, which yielded excellent results,” said Captain René Merino, commander of FNES General Staff. “We frequently adjust our patrol and surveillance plans, not only on the coast, but also in territorial waters.” Narcotrafficking networks moved beyond the 200 nautical miles demarcating the Salvadoran exclusive economic zone in the Pacific Ocean, in their attempt to ship drugs to the United States. “Since the middle of last year , we’ve seen an increase in the use of low-profile semisubmersibles to move large amounts of drugs,” Capt. Merino said. “They navigate 50 or 70 miles outside of our surveillance area and turn at the maritime border with Guatemala, because they know we can’t detain them there. Even so, we reached them and detained them in our territorial waters.” Navigating outside national territorial waters isn’t criminals’ only known tactic; they also move through coastal areas to switch from small vessels to larger ones. “They try to bring in drugs along the coast, but they haven’t been able to do that either, because we stopped them,” Capt. Merino said. “FNES designed a constant surveillance shield that extends beyond the 200 nautical miles. It works with naval equipment specialized in constant alert.” Attack on gangs PNC fights relentlessly against MS-13 and Barrio 18. In 2018, PNC launched simultaneous large operations in different municipalities to dismantle gang subgroups devoted to narcotrafficking, human trafficking, and money laundering. “Operations are always aimed at capturing ringleaders, at disrupting the actions that contribute to increasing their illicit wealth and logistics,” said Howard Cotto, PNC general director. “Leaders receive money from low-ranking gang members, and then, through various businesses, they make those funds grow for the gang’s use.” The battle started in July 2016 with Operation Jaque, which weakened MS-13’s finances and created a crisis in the organization. In September 2017, Operation Tecana was carried out, while Operation Cuscatlán was conducted in February 2018. Both aimed at dismantling business networks that laundered gang money through different front companies. “We can’t forget that fighting against the finances of organized crime is everyone’s duty,” said Douglas Meléndez, Salvadoran Attorney General. “Preventing weapons from reaching Central American gangs is the only way to disrupt criminal organizations and keep drugs out of the reach of our youth.” Technical cooperation The results not only demonstrate the success of these operations, but also those of others. So far in 2018, FNES seized more than 7,000 kilograms of drugs. The support from different U.S. agencies that fight narcotrafficking has been crucial to improve results. “Our Trident Task Force (FTT, in Spanish) trains constantly and learns new tactics, thanks to SOUTHCOM’s support. This has allowed us to make significant captures since 2015,” said Capt. Merino. Another factor for success is the information FNES receives from the National Electronic Monitoring Center the U.S. helped establish in El Salvador in June 2012. The center tracks suspicious vessels from the time of their South American departure until entry in Salvadoran waters. “This allows us to keep close and effective communications with FTT until we can seize and detain the criminals,” Army Major General Félix Núñez, head of the FAES Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Diálogo. “It’s important to emphasize that FTT is active around the clock to safeguard our sovereignty,” Maj. Gen. Núñez said. “FTT is considered an example of hard work in the region.” SOUTHCOM’s support is constant. In 2017, 361 PNC officers received a specialized training course in areas such as intelligence-led police surveillance, community relations, and complex investigations. More than 280 police units also trained in asset seizures, advanced investigation, and testing skills, strengthening the effectiveness of criminal justice procedures and practices.
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10 months ago Bala vs Ujda Chaman row: Sunny Singh film now books new release date Written By 10 months ago Rajkummar Rao on taming ‘The White Tiger’ & heading to China 10 months ago Kareena Kapoor Khan: Best no-makeup looks of the Jab We Met actor Last Updated: 23rd October, 2019 18:20 IST Paralympian Marieke Vervoort Fulfills Wish To Take Own Life Paralympian Marieke Vervoort said when the day arrived, she had signed the euthanasia papers and was prepared to end her life. COMMENT WE RECOMMEND 10 months ago 5 owls being delivered to occultist for sacrifice on Diwali saved LIVE TV WATCH US LIVE FOLLOW US Associated Press Television News SUBSCRIBE TO US 10 months ago Anil Kumble congratulates Sourav Ganguly, confident of his leadership Paralympian Marieke Vervoort said when the day arrived, she had signed the euthanasia papers and was prepared to end her life.That day came Tuesday in her native Belgium, her death confirmed in a statement from the city of Diest.Vervoort, who was 40, won gold and silver medals in wheelchair racing at the 2012 London Paralympics, and two more medals three years ago in Rio de Janeiro.In an interview attended by The Associated Press at the Paralympics in Rio, Vervoort described living with unbroken pain from an incurable, degenerative spinal disease.She talked of sleeping only 10 minutes some nights, described severe pain that caused others to pass out just watching her, and detailed how sports kept her alive.“It’s too hard for my body,” Vervoort said in the 2016 interview. “Each training I’m suffering because of pain. Every race I train hard. Training and riding and doing competition are medicine for me. I push so hard — to push literally all my fear and everything away.”Vervoort spent her last evening with close friends and family, even sharing a glass of sparkling wine, which she referred to as a painkiller.Condolences streamed in from across the nation, including from the royal family“Marieke ‘Wielemie’ Vervoort was an athlete tough as nails and a great lady. Her death touches us deeply,” the family said in a statement.Vervoort was a strong advocate of the right to choose euthanasia, which is legal in Belgium. Like training hard, she said it gave her control and put “my own life in my hands.”“I’m really scared, but those (euthanasia) papers give me a lot of peace of mind because I know when it’s enough for me, I have those papers,” she said.“If I didn’t have those papers, I think I’d have done suicide already. I think there will be fewer suicides when every country has the law of euthanasia. … I hope everybody sees that this is not murder, but it makes people live longer.”Vervoort also had epileptic seizures and had one in 2014 when she was cooking pasta and spilt boiling water over her legs. That resulted in a four-month hospital stay.A loyal Labrador named Zenn began staying with her, pawing her when a seizure was about to occur. Zenn also pulled her socks out of the sock drawer, she said, and helped carry groceries home when Vervoort bought too much.“When I’m going to have an epileptic attack, she warns me one hour before,” Vervoort said. “I don’t know how she feels it.”Vervoort said she kept pushing back the day of her death, knowing it could come anytime — as it can for anyone. She said she can be pain-free one minute, and nearly pass out a few minutes later.“You have to live day-by-day and enjoy the little moments,” she said. “Everybody tomorrow can have a car accident and die, or a heart attack and die. It can be tomorrow for everybody.”Vervoort called herself a “crazy lady.”She talked of flying in an F-16 fighter jet, riding in a rally car, and she was curating a museum of her life going back to at least 14 when she was diagnosed with her rare illness.She had spikey hair and wanted to be remembered as the lady who was “always laughing, always smiling.”“I feel different about death now than years ago,” Vervoort said. “For me, I think death is something like they operate on you, you go to sleep and you never wake up. For me, it’s something peaceful.” First Published: 23rd October, 2019 18:20 IST