Reports of police in San Miguel being involved in petty crime or conscripting civilians to get involved in such activities (1999 to August 2000) [SLV35260.E]

While not specifically mentioning San Miguel, several sources offer information with regard to police involved in crime. For example, Central America Report states that a great number of police officers of the National Civilian Police (PNC) are serving prison sentences for crimes (23 Jan. 1999). La Prensa Gráfica adds that in the first four months of 1999, the PNC arrested 124 of its officers for committing crimes (19 May 1999). Among those arrested, 64 officers committed their crimes while on leave and 38 others while on duty (ibid.). Harper's Magazine reported in August 2000 that an "inadequate screening of recruits allowed dozens-if not hundreds-of delinquents to penetrate the new [PNC] force, undermining efforts to win the public's trust" and as San Salvador police chief, Eduardo Linares, states: "'Criminality springs from the very same police force...They take off their uniforms and stage assaults with the same weapons they're issued to enforce the law" (51).

Only one report was found in which a San Miguel police officer was allegedly involved in committing a crime (El Diario de Hoy 4 Jan. 2000). According to the report, an assailant wearing a police officer uniform and identified as José Carlos Vásquez, was captured as he and other other assailants, who escaped, attempted to hold-up a vehicle, which happened to be a police patrol car. Police officials said that Vásquez and the other assailants were members of a gang who had committed several hold-ups in different neighbourhoods of San Miguel. According to eyewitnesses, one of the assailants who escaped was wearing the insignia of a police sergeant of the San Miguel Ground Traffic Department (Departamento de Tránsito Terrestre). The report provides no additional information.

No information implicating police in conscripting civilians to get involved in petty crime could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

General information on police involved in committing offences can be found in SLV34875.E of 20 July 2000, SLV33197.E of 21 February 2000 and SLV33463.E of 11 January 2000.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Central America Report [Guatemala]. 23 January 1999. "El Salvador: Nation Lacks Plan to Reduce Crime." (NEXIS)

El Diario de Hoy [San Salvador]. 4 January 2000. Balmore Alvarado. "Detienen asaltantes disfrazados de PNC." [Accessed 24 Aug. 2000]

Harper's Magazine [New York]. August 2000. Scott Wallace. "You Must Go Home Again: Deported L.A. Gangbangers Take Over El Salvador."

La Prensa Gráfica [San Salvador]. 19 May 1999. David Marroquín. "Over 400 Police Officers Arrested Since 1998." Central America NewsPak [Austin], Vol. 14, No. 7, 10 May-23 May 1999, 4.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1999-2000

Latin American Regional Reports: Caribbean and Central America Report [London]. 1999-2000


NACLA Report on the Americas [New York]. 1999-2000

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

La Nación [San José]. Search Engine. 1995-2000

La Prensa [Tegucigalpa]. Search Engine. 1996-2000

Proceso [San Salvador]