{"code":"24785","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"11014","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202009\/el_salvador\/24785","link_edit":"","name":"Bukele Has Been Negotiating with MS-13 for a Reduction in Homicides and Electoral Support","slug":"bukele-has-been-negotiating-with-ms-13-for-a-reduction-in-homicides-and-electoral-support","info":"Hundreds of pages of prison intelligence reports and shift logbooks from maximum-security facilities\u00a0reveal negotiations between the Salvadoran administration and incarcerated leaders of MS-13 dating back to June of 2019, when President Bukele took office. During the past year, gang negotiators agreed to a reduction in homicides and discussed prison privileges in exchange for electoral support for Nuevas Ideas, the president\u2019s party, in 2021. Leer en espa\u00f1ol","mtag":"Gangs","noun":{"html":"Carlos Mart\u00ednez, \u00d3scar Mart\u00ednez, Sergio Arauz and Efren Lemus","data":{"carlos-martinez-oscar-martinez-sergio-arauz-and-efren-lemus":{"sort":"","slug":"carlos-martinez-oscar-martinez-sergio-arauz-and-efren-lemus","path":"carlos_martinez_oscar_martinez_sergio_arauz_and_efren_lemus","name":"Carlos Mart\u00ednez, \u00d3scar Mart\u00ednez, Sergio Arauz and Efren Lemus"}}},"view":"11014","pict":{"cms-image-000034401-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"34401","name":"cms-image-000034401.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034401.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034401.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034401-jpg","text":"<p>Borromeo Sol\u00f3rzano (Diablo de Hollywood) y Carlos Tiberio Valladares (Snyper). Centro Penitenciario de Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel. Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EBorromeo Sol\u00f3rzano (Diablo de Hollywood) y Carlos Tiberio Valladares (Snyper). Centro Penitenciario de Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel. Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034387-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34387","name":"cms-image-000034387.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034387.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034387.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034387-jpg","text":"<p>Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, director de Reconstrucci\u00f3n de Tejido Social, durante su interpelaci\u00f3n por parte de diputados de Arena y FMLN en una Comisi\u00f3n Especial de la Asamblea Legislativa. Foto de El Faro: Secretar\u00eda de la Presidencia.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ECarlos Marroqu\u00edn, director for the Directorate of Reconstruction of Tejido Social, when Arena and FMLN deputies called on him to testify before a Special Commission of the Legislative Assembly. Photo: CAPRES\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034386-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34386","name":"cms-image-000034386.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034386.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034386.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034386-jpg","text":"<p>Carlos Aparicio durante su juramentaci\u00f3n como subdirector de Centros Penales. Foto de El Faro: Secretar\u00eda de la Presidencia.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ECarlos Aparicio during his swearing-in as deputy director general of prisons (Centros Penales). Photo: CAPRES\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034388-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34388","name":"cms-image-000034388.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034388.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034388.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034388-jpg","text":"<p>En 2015, la Polic\u00eda mont\u00f3 50 \u201coperaciones de vigilancia y seguimiento\u201d contra l\u00edderes de pandillas. En uno de estos operativos, el 21 de diciembre de 2015, los investigadores fotografiaron a Mario Dur\u00e1n y Carlos Marroqu\u00edn (al centro), entonces concejal y empleado de la alcald\u00eda de San Salvador, respectivamente, con Renuente (a la izquierda, con camisa a cuadros), un l\u00edder de la Mara Salvatrucha, y White de Iberias, a la derecha. Foto de El Faro: Archivo.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn 2015, the Police mounted 50 surveillance operations targeting gang leaders. In the course of one of these operations, on December 21, 2015, agents photographed Minister Mario Dur\u00e1n (then-councilman, center-left) and Carlos Marroqu\u00edn (then-employee of the Mayor\u2019s Office, center-right) with Renuente (far-left, checkered shirt) and White of Iberias (far right), of the Mara Salvatrucha. El Faro archival photo obtained from National Civil Police.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034389-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34389","name":"cms-image-000034389.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034389.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034389.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034389-jpg","text":"<p>En 2015, la Polic\u00eda mont\u00f3 50 \u201coperaciones de vigilancia y seguimiento\u201d contra l\u00edderes de pandillas. En uno de estos operativos, el 21 de diciembre de 2015, los investigadores fotografiaron a Mario Dur\u00e1n y Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, entonces concejal y empleado de la alcald\u00eda de San Salvador, respectivamente, con Renuente (a la izquierda, con camisa a cuadros), un l\u00edder de la Mara Salvatrucha, y White de Iberis, que aparece de frente en laa imagen. Quien habla por tel\u00e9fono es otro pandillero que los acompa\u00f1\u00f3. Foto de El Faro: Archivo.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EFrom left to right: Mario Dur\u00e1n, White of Iberias, an unidentified accompanying gang member talking on the phone, and Renuente. Not pictured: Carlos Marroqu\u00edn. El Faro archival photo obtained from National Civil Police.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034380-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34380","name":"cms-image-000034380.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034380.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034380.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034380-jpg","text":"<p>Entrevista con la ranfla de la MS-13, en el Centro Penitenciario de Ciudad Barrios, en el departamento de San Miguel, 27 de septiembre de 2012. Con camiseta blanca sin mangas, El Diablo de Hollywood. Foto: Pau Coll - Ruido Photo\/El Faro.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EInterview with the ranfla of MS-13 in the Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel on September 27, 2012. El Diablo of Hollywood sits center-right in a white tank-top. Photo: Pau Coll - Ruido Photo\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034366-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34366","name":"cms-image-000034366.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034366.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034366.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034366-jpg","text":"<p>El informe que el Inspector Jairo Humberto Sol\u00eds Molina remiti\u00f3 al director de Izalco fase III, fechado tambi\u00e9n el 12 de agosto en el que reporta una serie de \u201canomal\u00edas\u201d entre miembros de la ranfla de la MS-13 y \u201cpersonal del gobierno\u201d, donde informa que el d\u00eda 7 de agosto \u201cvinieron nuevamente\u201d gente del gobierno y \u201cunos encapuchados que son ranfleros de la calle\u201d, donde identifican al \u201cAy\u201d de Iberias y que se reunieron con el Macaco de Stoner y el Baby de City. En el informe se consigna que el Ay les dijo que hab\u00eda ido a Zacatecoluca y que tengan paciencia porque \u201cesto va a cambiar muy pronto\u201d.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EInspector Jairo Humberto Sol\u00eds Molina\u2019s report to the warden of Izalco\u2019s maximum-security wing (\u201cPhase III\u201d), dated August 12, 2020. That same day, Sol\u00eds Molina reported a series of \u201cabnormalities\u201d between members of MS-13 senior leadership (\u201cla ranfla\u201d) and \u201cadministration officials,\u201d and noted that officials \u201creturned\u201d on August 7 with \u201cmasked ranfleros from the street.\u201d He identified one ranflero, or MS-13 leader, as \u201cAy\u201d of the Iberias clique, and noted that the group met with Macaco of Stoner and Baby of City, both of whom are incarcerated in Izalco. The report confirms that Ay told Macaco and Baby that he had visited Zacatecoluca and asked them to be patient because \u201cthings will change very soon.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034367-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34367","name":"cms-image-000034367.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034367.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034367.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034367-jpg","text":"<p>En este memorando enviado por el subdirector del penal de m\u00e1xima seguridad de Zacatecoluca al director de ese centro el ocho de agosto, se asegura que fue el propio Osiris Luna quien orden\u00f3 revertir la decisi\u00f3n de mezclar a pandilleros contrarios en las celdas, para volver a la modalidad de celdas exclusivas para cada pandilla. Una fuente de Centros Penales asegur\u00f3 a este peri\u00f3dico que la medida se ha aplicado en todos las c\u00e1rceles de pandillas.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn this memorandum the maximum-security facility Zacatecoluca deputy warden states that Osiris Luna himself ordered the reversal of the decision to merge the cell blocks of opposing gangs and to return to the norm of gang-based segregation within the facilities. A source within Centros Penales, the prison administration headed by Luna, confirmed to El Faro that the reversal had been instituted across all prisons housing gangs.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034395-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34395","name":"cms-image-000034395.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034395.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034395.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034395-jpg","text":"<p>Osiris Luna Meza, director de Centros Penales, durante una visita al Centro Penitenciario de Izalco, en el departamento de Sonsonate, el 27 de abril de 2020. Esa ma\u00f1ana, Luna Meza anunci\u00f3 la mezcla de pandillas contrarias en las c\u00e1rceles como un plan para reducir los homicidios. Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOsiris Luna Meza, director of Centros Penales, during a visit to Izalco Prison in the department of Sonsonate on April 27, 2020. That morning, Luna Meza announced the merging of cell blocks of opposing gangs as part of the government\u2019s strategy to reduce homicides. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034365-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34365","name":"cms-image-000034365.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034365.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034365.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034365-jpg","text":"<p>El director del penal de Izalco fase III hace un oficio de remisi\u00f3n al director general Osiris Luna, fechado el 12 de agosto de 2020. Le dice que el inspector Jairo Humberto Sol\u00eds Molina (Auxiliar de Subdirecci\u00f3n de Seguridad de ese penal) ha elaborado un informe producto de unas wilas recibidas por fuentes \u201cfidedignas\u201d.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn August 12, 2020, the warden of Phase III of Izalco wrote to Director General Osiris Luna that Inspector Sol\u00eds Molina of the prison\u2019s security division had written an intelligence report on internal gang communications received from \u201creliable\u201d sources.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034370-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34370","name":"cms-image-000034370.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034370.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034370.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034370-jpg","text":"<p>Transcripci\u00f3n de una de las <em>wilas <\/em>que hablan sobre lo ocurrido el d\u00eda 7 de agosto en Izalco Fase III. La imagen corresponde a un documento de inteligencia penitenciaria que El Faro recibi\u00f3 junto al resto de documentos oficiales.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ETranscript of one of the wilas recounting the events of August 7 in Phase III of Izalco. The image is part of a prison intelligence report that El Faro received together with other official documents.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034402-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34402","name":"cms-image-000034402.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034402.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034402.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034402-jpg","text":"<p>El 20 de diciembre, de 8:15 a 9:25 de la ma\u00f1ana, seg\u00fan libro de novedades, estuvieron en el penal de Zacatecoluca el director de Centros Penales Osiris Luna con tres compa\u00f1antes con navarone que no pasan scaner de cuerpo entero ni registro palpado. Llegaron en los carros P337-539 y el Hilux P803-956.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EFrom 8:15 to 9:25 am on December 20, the logbook states that Director General Osiris Luna visited Zacatecoluca accompanied by three people wearing balaclavas who circumvented metal detectors and pat-downs. They arrived in vehicles with plates P337-539 and P803-956.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034368-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34368","name":"cms-image-000034368.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034368.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034368.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034368-jpg","text":"<p>14 de enero de 2020: de 16:15 a 17:30 en Zacatecoluca. Luna y el director de Zacatecoluca volvieron a ese penal con otras \u201ccuatro personas con gorros navarone, sin identificar\u201d. El libro de novedades dej\u00f3 registro de que a las 4:15 de la tarde, en el carro P842-331, entraron \u201cel director y los tres engorrados\u201d, y en el P638-554 lleg\u00f3 \u201cotro engorrado\u201d. Argumentaron ir a \u201centrevistar a pdl de diferentes sectores\u201d y se retiraron a las 5:30 de la tarde. El Faro pudo constatar que el veh\u00edculo P842-331 fue comprado por Dennis Fernando Salinas Berm\u00fadez el 23 de febrero de 2019 a $14,000. Salinas Berm\u00fadez es subdirector de Tejido Social, la oficina de gobierno dirigida por Carlos Marroqu\u00edn. Berm\u00fadez fue portero de diferentes equipos de f\u00fatbol, como Alianza, FAS, Balboa, Firpo y Marte, y ahora es candidato a diputado por San Salvador bajo la bandera de Nuevas Ideas para las elecciones de 2021, despu\u00e9s de ser el cuarto pre candidato m\u00e1s votado en los comicios internos.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E4:15 to 5:30 pm on January 14, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Luna and the warden returned to the prison with another \u201cfour unidentified men wearing balaclavas.\u201d At 4:15 pm, according to the logbook, \u201cthe director [Luna] and three masked men\u201d entered the premises in vehicle P842-331 and \u201canother masked man\u201d in vehicle P638-554. They said they were going to \u201cinterview prisoners in different sectors\u201d and left at 5:30 in the afternoon. El Faro confirmed that Dennis Fernando Salinas Berm\u00fadez purchased vehicle P842-331 on February 23, 2019 for $14,000. Salinas Berm\u00fadez is deputy director of Tejido Social, the office run by Carlos Marroqu\u00edn under the Ministry of Government. Berm\u00fadez was a professional goalkeeper for various Salvadoran teams, including Alianza, FAS, Balboa, Firpo, and Marte, and is now a candidate for deputy of San Salvador for Nuevas Ideas in the 2021 elections, having received the fourth-highest vote total in the party\u2019s primary.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034375-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34375","name":"cms-image-000034375.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034375.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034375.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034375-jpg","text":"<p>10 de febrero de 2020: de 08:45 a 10:00 en Zacatecoluca. Apareci\u00f3 de nuevo el subdirector de Tejido Social, Berm\u00fadez. Se infiere, por la forma en que est\u00e1 redactado el informe en el libro de novedades, que el custodio reconoci\u00f3 al funcionario a pesar de que este utiliz\u00f3 navarone. Ingresaron a las 8:45 de la ma\u00f1ana en el veh\u00edculo P337-539, conducido por Luna. Luego, se lee: \u201ccon el subdirector del Tejido Social y acompa\u00f1ante de este, ambos con gorro navarone y no se identifican. Vienen a recorrido en centro penal\u201d.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E8:45 to 10 am on February 10, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. The deputy director of Tejido Social, Berm\u00fadez, reappeared. Given how the logbook was redacted, it can be inferred that the guard recognized the official despite him wearing a balaclava. A vehicle P337-539 driven by Luna entered the premises at 8:45 am carrying \u201cthe deputy director of Tejido Social and another individual, both wearing balaclavas and refusing to identify themselves. They came to do a tour of the facility.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034376-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34376","name":"cms-image-000034376.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034376.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034376.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034376-jpg","text":"<p>11 de marzo de 2020: de 15:35 a 17:55 en Zacatecoluca. Luna estuvo dentro del penal de Zacatecoluca con una nueva comitiva donde tambi\u00e9n iba el entonces subdirector \u00c9lmer Mira, removido a finales de julio sin que se diera ninguna justificaci\u00f3n p\u00fablica de su despido. Luna y Mira llegaron en un carro de Centros Penales, mientras que \u201ccuatro personas sin identificarse\u201d entraron en un veh\u00edculo sin placas. Los libros registran que en esa ocasi\u00f3n la comitiva ingres\u00f3 a la sala de videoaudiencias a conversar con Diablito, Snyder y Pablo Renderos. El Faro constat\u00f3 en archivos penitenciarios que en Zacatecoluca guarda prisi\u00f3n Pablo Antonio Renderos Cruz, el Bad Spirit o Gato de la clica de Iberias, condenado a 35 a\u00f1os en 2007 por el Juzgado Cuarto de Sentencia en un caso de agrupaciones il\u00edcitas y homicidio simple.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u00a03:35 to 5:55 pm on March 11, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Luna visited with a new group including then-deputy director of Centros Penales \u00c9lmer Mira, who was fired without public justification at the end of July. Luna and Mira arrived in an official vehicle from Centros Penales, while \u201cfour unidentified people\u201d arrived in a plateless vehicle. The logbooks note that the group entered the video conference room to speak with Diablito, Snyder, and Pablo Renderos. El Faro reviewed Zacatecoluca prison records confirming that Pablo Antonio Renderos Cruz, alias Bad Spirit or Gato of the Iberias clique, was sentenced to 35 years in 2007 for first-degree murder and illicit association.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000034374-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"34374","name":"cms-image-000034374.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034374.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000034374.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000034374-jpg","text":"<p>Sin fecha. Zacatecoluca en 2020. Reubicaciones y entrega de ropa .A las 16 horas se ha presentado Osiris Luna se presenta para distintas actividades. Una comitiva de \u201cagentes camale\u00f3n\u201d entregan ropa al PDL Tiberio Ramirez y Borromeo Enrique Henr\u00edquez. Luego registra una serie reubicaciones por orden del director general: Elmer Canales Ribera MS13.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENo date listed, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Relocations and clothing distribution. Osiris Luna arrived at 4 pm for different activities. A group of agents gave clothing to Tiberio Ram\u00edrez, alias Diablo, and Borromeo Enrique Henr\u00edquez, alias Snyder. The record also details cell block transfers ordered by Director General Luna.\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":34401,"date":{"live":"2020\/09\/06"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2020","data_post_dateLive_MM":"09","data_post_dateLive_DD":"06","text":"\u003Cp\u003EThe proof that Nayib Bukele\u2019s administration is negotiating with the Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) is in its own internal documents.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EEl Faro obtained copies of hundreds of prison reports confirming dozens of covert meetings between government officials and gang leaders since 2019, as well as intelligence reports detailing the outcomes of the encounters. Representatives of the executive branch and MS-13 agreed to the reduction in homicides, prison privileges, and long-term pledges tied to the results of congressional elections in 2021.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe administration, through its work in the prison system, has documented some of the covert deliberations between officials and the criminal organization in great detail. The logbooks obtained by El Faro show the repeated entry of Osiris Luna, the national director of prisons, and Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, the director of Tejido Social\u2014Social Fabric, a government office created by the Bukele government to address the country\u2019s gang crisis\u2014accompanied by masked men, to meet with gang leadership incarcerated in the Zacatecoluca and Izalco prisons.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe prison records, which have been signed and stamped, contain the names of officials and gang members participating in the meetings, entry and exit times, notes on potentially illicit activities, vehicle license plates, and notes on the location of prison cells or other spaces where meetings have taken place. The records also include confidential intelligence reports written by the prison wardens and deputy wardens based on information provided by prisoners cooperating with the authorities. The administration\u2019s own intelligence officers deemed information in the official memoranda \u201creliable.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=34366\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Inspector Jairo Humberto Sol\u00eds Molina\u2019s report to the warden of Izalco\u2019s maximum-security wing (\u201cPhase III\u201d), dated August 12, 2020. That same day, Sol\u00eds Molina reported a series of \u201cabnormalities\u201d between members of MS-13 senior leadership (\u201cla ranfla\u201d) and \u201cadministration officials,\u201d and noted that officials \u201creturned\u201d on August 7 with \u201cmasked ranfleros from the street.\u201d He identified one ranflero, or MS-13 leader, as \u201cAy\u201d of the Iberias clique, and noted that the group met with Macaco of Stoner and Baby of City, both of whom are incarcerated in Izalco. The report confirms that Ay told Macaco and Baby that he had visited Zacatecoluca and asked them to be patient because \u201cthings will change very soon.\u201d\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EInspector Jairo Humberto Sol\u00eds Molina\u2019s report to the warden of Izalco\u2019s maximum-security wing (\u201cPhase III\u201d), dated August 12, 2020. That same day, Sol\u00eds Molina reported a series of \u201cabnormalities\u201d between members of MS-13 senior leadership (\u201cla ranfla\u201d) and \u201cadministration officials,\u201d and noted that officials \u201creturned\u201d on August 7 with \u201cmasked ranfleros from the street.\u201d He identified one ranflero, or MS-13 leader, as \u201cAy\u201d of the Iberias clique, and noted that the group met with Macaco of Stoner and Baby of City, both of whom are incarcerated in Izalco. The report confirms that Ay told Macaco and Baby that he had visited Zacatecoluca and asked them to be patient because \u201cthings will change very soon.\u201d\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe documents register the administration\u2019s concessions spanning across months of negotiations, ranging from small day-to-day privileges at the beginning\u2014such as permitting the sale of Pollo Campero (a popular fried chicken restaurant), pizza, pupusas and candy in gang cell blocks, as well as the transfer of prison guards that the gangs viewed as particularly aggressive\u2014to reversing the decision made in April to merge the cell blocks of opposing gangs and even promising to soften the maximum-security regime, repeal laws, and give gang members \u201cbenefits\u201d if the government can take control of the Legislative Assembly in the elections in February 2021.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOfficial documents confirm that some of these agreements have already begun to materialize: in a memorandum to the warden of Zacatecoluca on August 8, the facility\u2019s deputy warden wrote that Osiris Luna had ordered the reversal of the decision to merge cell blocks of opposing gangs and return to the norm of gang-based segregation. A source within Centros Penales, the prison administration headed by Luna, confirmed to El Faro that the reversal had been instituted across all prisons housing gangs.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe administration had initially announced its decision to merge cell blocks of opposing gangs in April with great fanfare. On April 26, Luna himself wrote via Twitter: \u201cToday the gangs no longer get their own cell blocks. We\u2019ve mixed these terrorist groups together in the same cells, in all of the @CentrosPenales run by [the Ministry of Security]. The state demands respect!\u201d President Bukele boasted of the measures a day later from his own account: \u201cFrom now on, all the gang cell blocks across the country will remain shut. They\u2019ll no longer be able to see outside each cell, which will prevent them from communicating in code across the hall. They\u2019ll be shut inside, in the dark, with their friends from the other gang.\u201d News of the reversal\u2014when prisoners were separated once again by gang affiliation\u2014on the other hand, didn\u2019t reach the public.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=1318&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=34367\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"In this memorandum the maximum-security facility Zacatecoluca deputy warden states that Osiris Luna himself ordered the reversal of the decision to merge the cell blocks of opposing gangs and to return to the norm of gang-based segregation within the facilities. A source within Centros Penales, the prison administration headed by Luna, confirmed to El Faro that the reversal had been instituted across all prisons housing gangs.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EIn this memorandum the maximum-security facility Zacatecoluca deputy warden states that Osiris Luna himself ordered the reversal of the decision to merge the cell blocks of opposing gangs and to return to the norm of gang-based segregation within the facilities. A source within Centros Penales, the prison administration headed by Luna, confirmed to El Faro that the reversal had been instituted across all prisons housing gangs.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn exchange for these concessions, the gang with the highest membership in the country committed to shut off the \u201cvalves\u201d of murders and, more recently, to \u201csupport,\u201d as written literally in prison intelligence reports, Nuevas Ideas in the coming elections. \u201cNext year there will be elections and, as a \u003Cem\u003EBarrio\u003C\/em\u003E, the gang leadership says, they will turn out to support this new party,\u201d says one of the reports.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe documents reveal ongoing negotiations in which agreements have yet to be finalized and some of the administration\u2019s promises look toward the future. Among the intercepted communications are various \u003Cem\u003Ewilas\u003C\/em\u003E \u2014gang vernacular for internal messages written on bits of paper\u2014in which gang leaders repeatedly order gang members on the outside to stand down from violent encounters due to ongoing dialogue with the administration. The documents and sources confirming the content of those communications describe the high- and low-points of fluctuating negotiations, including days of increased homicides and periods of tightened measures within the prisons.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThus far, 2020 is on track to unseat 2019 as the year with the fewest homicides since the 1992 peace accords. Between January and May of last year, El Salvador registered 1,345 homicides. Over the same span this year, there have been 519. The administration has publicized the reduction as one of its primary accomplishments.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThis isn\u2019t the first time that a truce between gangs and a sitting administration has led to a drastic reduction in homicides. In 2012, El Faro revealed how the Funes administration, of the FMLN party, likewise led different stages of covert negotiations, first for a fall in homicides and later for electoral support in the presidential elections of 2014. Those efforts led to a drastic reduction in homicides for two years. The rupture of that truce, however, made 2015 the most violent year on record, registering 103 homicides per 100,000 residents.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EEl Faro has interviewed two sources familiar with the internal functioning of Centros Penales, and both confirmed the veracity of the records published by El Faro. Both sources asked to remain anonymous for fear of their lives. \u201cThese are copies of the shift logbooks; here are the signatures of the guards who open and close out the shifts,\u201d stated one of these two sources after reviewing the documents obtained by El Faro and confirming officials\u2019 signatures and annotations.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EEl Faro also spoke with a leader of MS-13 who confirmed, on multiple occasions, the existence of ongoing negotiations with the administration since its first months in office. Lacking documentation to corroborate the claim, El Faro refrained from publishing this information until now.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe records that El Faro has analyzed and is now publishing contain information about meetings between administration officials and gang members from October 18, 2019, four months after Bukele\u2019s swearing-in, through Friday, August 7, 2020. Another document intercepted by prison intelligence officers speaks of gang wilas specifying negotiations dating back to June of 2019.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe documents recount the illicit entry of hooded men who refused to identify themselves or allow guards to record their entry into the facilities, and whose entry into the country\u2019s strictest facilities was personally authorized by Director General Luna, who accompanied them. The documents also confirm the entry of at least one gang leader at large, who masqueraded as an intelligence officer in order to enter the prisons, pass on information, and receive orders from his bosses, who were incarcerated gang members\u2014all with the consent of Luna and Marroqu\u00edn, who accompanied the gang leader on his recorded entry into Izalco on August 7, 2020.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1334&ImageId=34387\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, director for the Directorate of Reconstruction of Tejido Social, when Arena and FMLN deputies called on him to testify before a Special Commission of the Legislative Assembly. Photo: CAPRES\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ECarlos Marroqu\u00edn, director for the Directorate of Reconstruction of Tejido Social, when Arena and FMLN deputies called on him to testify before a Special Commission of the Legislative Assembly. Photo: CAPRES\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EEmissaries of the \u201cNew Party\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAt four in the afternoon on August 7, 2020 in Phase III, the maximum-security wing of Izalco prison located some 40 miles from San Salvador, Inspector Sol\u00eds began his surveillance shift in the Operations and Monitoring Center, where agents control the security cameras on the premises and keep a record of their observations. In just a few minutes, he made the following note on page 10 of the logbook: \u201cVisit from the DGCP (Centros Penales) at 4:10pm. Observed by camera the entry of director general Osiris Luna, accompanied by director Marroqu\u00edn from Tejido Social and six guests who offered no identification, in vehicles with license plates P894-393, P844-339, and P842-331, along with the vehicle of the director which has no plate. Left at 4:40pm.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EInspector Sol\u00eds\u2019s notes in the logbook on August 7 don\u2019t specify the visitors\u2019 motives, nor who they visited; other documents from Centros Penales dated five days later reveal that the committee of masked men and government officials met with two powerful leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha, and that some of the officials presented themselves to the gang leaders as emissaries of a \u201cnew party\u201d that would see to their \u201cwellbeing.\u201d The intelligence reports show, furthermore, that among the six mysterious figures was a national gang leader.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EWhite of Iberias\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn August 12, Rafael Antonio Jim\u00e9nez Ramos, warden of Phase III of Izalco, sent a report to Director Luna explaining that Inspector Jairo Humberto Sol\u00eds, of the prison\u2019s security division, had gathered intelligence from \u201creliable sources.\u201d In the attached report, Inspector Sol\u00eds\u2019s findings included that a gang leader identified by informants inside the prison as alias \u201cAy\u201d of the Iberias Locos Salvatrucha clique was among the group led by Director Luna on August 7.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ERamos knew that his boss, Luna, was part of the group that entered with the masked men that day, but even so, he commissioned the report. In his report to Luna, he noted that he had added Inspector Sol\u00eds\u2019s report, along with \u201cwilas received from reliable sources.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn August 12, 2020, the warden of Phase III of Izalco wrote to Director General Osiris Luna that Inspector Jairo Humberto Sol\u00eds Molina of the prison\u2019s security division had written an intelligence report on internal gang communications received from \u201creliable\u201d sources.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=34395\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Osiris Luna Meza, director of Centros Penales, during a visit to Izalco Prison in the department of Sonsonate on April 27, 2020. That morning, Luna Meza announced the merging of cell blocks of opposing gangs as part of the government\u2019s strategy to reduce homicides. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EOsiris Luna Meza, director of Centros Penales, during a visit to Izalco Prison in the department of Sonsonate on April 27, 2020. That morning, Luna Meza announced the merging of cell blocks of opposing gangs as part of the government\u2019s strategy to reduce homicides. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EEl Faro obtained the series of documents: the reports that informants sent to Inspector Sol\u00eds, the report that Sol\u00eds sent to the warden, and the communication from the warden to his superior, Osiris Luna.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe intelligence reports were based on information provided by prisoners who decided to collaborate with prison officials in exchange for certain benefits. The documents obtained by El Faro give the prisoners\u2019 names, but to protect their security they have been omitted from this report. El Faro confirmed that these informants exist and are incarcerated in the facilities cited in the reports.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u201cI respectfully inform you that reliable sources are referring to a series of anomalies (sic) between the leadership of the criminal organization MS-13 and administration officials who have visited this facility in recent days,\u201d wrote Inspector Sol\u00eds in his intelligence report. \u201cMost notable among these trips, according to the source, is the visit on August 7 of this month (August) officials returned with masked men, who are gang leaders from the street.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EWhile informants identified one of the masked men under different aliases including \u201cAy\u201d and \u201cGuay\u201d of the Iberias clique, likely derived from a shortening and mispronunciation of the word \u201cwhite\u201d in English, prison intelligence officers have profiled Michael Estiban Hern\u00e1ndez Estrada, alias \u201cWhite of Iberias,\u201d as the gang member who entered Phase III of Izalco alongside officials on August 7. Authorities identified Hern\u00e1ndez Estrada, 35, as a ranflero, or national leader, of MS-13, and claim in official reports obtained by El Faro that he is \u201cin charge of the political arm\u201d of MS-13. He served four years in the now-closed Chalatenango Prison between April 2009 and April 2013 for attempted aggravated robbery. It\u2019s not the first time that his ties to public officials working for Bukele have come to light.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn Monday, December 21, 2015, the National Civil Police documented a meeting between two officials from then-San Salvador Mayor Nayib Bukele\u2019s office and members of MS-13 in a Pizza Hut in the Multiplaza Mall of San Salvador. One of the gang members in attendance was the influential gang leader Edwin Ernesto Cedillos Rodr\u00edguez, alias \u201cRenuente,\u201d who maintains a large portfolio of criminality including the illegal purchase of dozens of rifles for the gang and assassination attempts against public officials. The other gang member in attendance was White of Iberias.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAt the time, White was not yet a member of the ranfla, MS-13\u2019s highest governing body, but he apparently had made the necessary connections. The police wiretapped calls in which he planned the meeting at Pizza Hut. El Faro obtained a copy of the tapes, in which White told Renuente one day before the meeting, in a snide tone: \u201cLike I said, we\u2019ll see everyone Monday at 10 at Multiplaza. The mayor already knows, asshole. He said it\u2019s a go. Do you know who I am, asshole?\u201d The next day, right before the appointment, Renuente told him to hurry. \u201cI wanted you to already be there making sure they don\u2019t bring along any cops or people we don\u2019t know.\u201d White, boastful, responded: \u201cNo, it\u2019ll just be my contact and the other guy, man. No sweat. These people don\u2019t play dirty.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=970&ImageId=34388\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"In 2015, the Police mounted 50 surveillance operations targeting gang leaders. In the course of one of these operations, on December 21, 2015, agents photographed Minister Mario Dur\u00e1n (then-councilman, center-left) and Carlos Marroqu\u00edn (then-employee of the Mayor\u2019s Office, center-right) with Renuente (far-left, checkered shirt) and White of Iberias (far right), of the Mara Salvatrucha. El Faro archival photo obtained from National Civil Police.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EIn 2015, the Police mounted 50 surveillance operations targeting gang leaders. In the course of one of these operations, on December 21, 2015, agents photographed Minister Mario Dur\u00e1n (then-councilman, center-left) and Carlos Marroqu\u00edn (then-employee of the Mayor\u2019s Office, center-right) with Renuente (far-left, checkered shirt) and White of Iberias (far right), of the Mara Salvatrucha. El Faro archival photo obtained from National Civil Police.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe \u201cother guy\u201d mentioned by White was Mario Dur\u00e1n, then-member of the capital\u2019s city council. His trusted contact was Carlos Marroqu\u00edn. The police photographed them that day, and stopped them after the meeting to ask for identification.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EFive years after the meeting, which El Faro first revealed in 2018, Renuente is in the maximum-security prison in Zacatecoluca; White of Iberias has ascended to the ranfla; Dur\u00e1n is Bukele\u2019s minister of government and San Salvador mayoral candidate for Nuevas Ideas; and Marroqu\u00edn runs Tejido Social, a subdivision of the Ministry of Government.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn closing his report to the warden of Phase III of Izalco, Inspector Sol\u00eds wrote that, according to his informants, White had told gang leaders on his August 7 visit that he \u201chad gone to Zacatecoluca, that all was well there, and to be patient because things will change very soon.\u201d At the end, Sol\u00eds explained that he had added the original wilas and their transcriptions.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u201c\u003Cstrong\u003EIn the United States We\u2019re the Boogeyman\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe testimony of Inspector Jairo Sol\u00eds\u2019s three informants coincides in that the group that entered Phase III of Izalco on August 7 met with two of the leading figures inside the prison: Walter Oswaldo G\u00f3mez Villalobos, alias Macaco of Stoner, member of the Stoner Locos Salvatrucha operating in Santa Ana; and Jos\u00e9 Luis Gonz\u00e1lez, alias Baby of City, member of the City Para\u00edso clique which controls the Italy District of Tonacatepeque, a municipality outside of San Salvador.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe sources cited in the intelligence report heard the content of the conversation and later passed it on to Inspector Sol\u00eds in writing. The lead voice of the conversation, they said, was White of Iberias, who that day had arrived masked and in the company of Luna and Marroqu\u00edn. In the informants\u2019 account, it became clear that the conversation wasn\u2019t the beginning of negotiations, but rather another chapter in a long-standing dialogue that had begun long before in Zacatecoluca between officials and two of the historic national leaders of the MS-13: Borromeo Enrique Henr\u00edquez, alias Diablo of Hollywood, and Carlos Tiberio Valladares, alias Snyder of Pasadena.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EBoth Diablo and Snyder were the most visible gang leaders during the 2012 truce with Funes administration (2009-14).\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1334&ImageId=34380\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Interview with the ranfla of MS-13 in the Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel on September 27, 2012. El Diablo of Hollywood sits center-right in a white tank-top. Photo: Pau Coll - Ruido Photo\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EInterview with the ranfla of MS-13 in the Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel on September 27, 2012. El Diablo of Hollywood sits center-right in a white tank-top. Photo: Pau Coll - Ruido Photo\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAccording to prison intelligence, White told Macaco and Baby in Izalco that he had already met with Diablo and Snyder in Zacatecoluca.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe informants say that, in White\u2019s conversations with Macaco and Baby, he claimed to have also met with yet other members of the ranfla in a third prison, San Francisco Gotera: Guanaco and Mafioso, both of the City Para\u00edso clique. El Faro has no records of those meetings.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EInspector Sol\u00eds sent Warden Jim\u00e9nez Ramos an official transcript of one of the intercepted wilas, which read: \u201c[The administration] also said that we shouldn\u2019t expect a visit right now, because things are going step by step, because they (the representatives) were in the public eye and they don\u2019t want to be labeled as having made a truce because as the MS-13 gang, in the United States we\u2019re the boogeyman. These measures are just a cover-up. They\u2019re looking toward the elections next year, they\u2019re from a new party, and they\u2019re looking out for the well-being of us \u003Cem\u003Ehomies.\u003C\/em\u003E\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EWhat the representative of the Salvadoran government told the gang members incarcerated in Izalco wasn\u2019t untrue. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has referred to the Mara Salvatrucha 13 in grossly exaggerated terms. He has called them the \u201cMS-13 cartel,\u201d and referred to them as \u201canimals.\u201d In 2016, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/time.com\/time-person-of-the-year-2016-donald-trump\/\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003ETrump said of MS-13 members\u003C\/span\u003E \u003C\/a\u003E , \u201cThey\u2019re tougher than any people you\u2019ve ever met. They\u2019re killing and raping everybody out there. They\u2019re illegal. And they are finished.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=1430&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=34370\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Transcript of one of the wilas recounting the events of August 7 in Phase III of Izalco. The image is part of a prison intelligence report that El Faro received together with other official documents.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ETranscript of one of the wilas recounting the events of August 7 in Phase III of Izalco. The image is part of a prison intelligence report that El Faro received together with other official documents.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe Bukele administration often touts its good relationship with the Trump administration. In fact, almost four months into Bukele\u2019s term, Trump received him in Washington at the end of September 2019. During their meeting, Trump heaped praise on Bukele. \u201cI have great respect for you, and I really appreciate what you\u2019re doing. The President has done an incredible job with MS-13. He realizes what a threat they are. And they have been very, very tough, and we all appreciate that,\u201d \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.whitehouse.gov\/briefings-statements\/remarks-president-trump-president-bukele-el-salvador-bilateral-meeting-new-york-ny\/\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ehe told reporters\u003C\/span\u003E \u003C\/a\u003E as he sat next to Bukele.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThree weeks later on October 18, Director General Luna entered Zacatecoluca alongside a group of unidentified people, according to the prison records obtained by El Faro. Prison intelligence officers from Bukele\u2019s own administration, though, had intercepted wilas dating back to June 2019 explicitly mentioning a \u201cnegotiation with the administration.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn the August 7 meeting, White passed along a message to Macaco and Baby that informants then transcribed and passed to Inspector Sol\u00eds. \u201cHe already went and spoke with Diablo and Snyder, and next year the elections are coming and as a \u003Cem\u003Ebarrio \u003C\/em\u003E(gang) they will support the new party because they\u2019ll help us to repeal the law to obtain the privilege and they\u2019ll come to an understanding with Diablo and Snyder for the sum of money.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EDuring the meeting, the gang members complained to the officials that they hadn\u2019t received vocational training, the commissaries were poorly stocked, and some of the guards were beating them. One of the representatives of the executive branch, who in the wilas they refer to as \u201cthe \u003Cem\u003Eviejo\u003C\/em\u003E from the government,\u201d took down the badge numbers of said guards and promised to transfer them. The informants recounted the request in the document sent to Inspector Sol\u00eds: \u201cThe homeboys told him that the guards were always beating them here, and named Seco, Pel\u00f3n, Marino, Corcel, Caf\u00fa, Coyote, and D\u00f3mino. The viejo said he would throw them out one by one because they were prohibited from mistreating them.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe day after the meeting with Baby and Macaco, Inspector Isabel Mart\u00ednez S\u00e1nchez, deputy warren of Zacatecoluca, signed and stamped an official memorandum to Warden Rogelio Belarmino Garc\u00eda, reporting that the deputy director of Centros Penales, Carlos Aparicio, had been nominated eleven days before the meeting. Aparicio had arrived at Zacatecoluca, she continued, at 8:50am with one objective: reversing the order to merge the cell blocks of enemy gangs and revert to the norm of segregation by gang affiliation.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u201cI respectfully inform you that Carlos Aparicio, deputy director for Centros Penales, entered this facility today, August 8, at 8:50 am, in vehicle number P125717, and met with the undersigned to ask if I had knowledge of any agents mistreating those in our custody, or who are at risk of doing so. He said that the mission of the General Directorate is to support [vocational] programs and sell Pollo Campero, Campestre, pizza, pupusas, and homestyle cooking through the commissaries,\u201d wrote Deputy Warren Mart\u00ednez S\u00e1nchez.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u201cAfter the meeting, we traveled inside the center to carry out transfers of inmates in the following sectors: upper 3, lower 3, lower 1, lower 4, 5, and levels 1, 2, and 3 of sector 6. For the record, the director general himself gave the verbal order for the transfers directly to the deputy director general; the action consisted of leaving each cell block to each gang. We exited the facilities at 5:17pm,\u201d Mart\u00ednez concluded.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThus an order which President Bukele and other officials had announced with fanfare and captured in a photo op was reversed in secret and upon request of the gang members themselves.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=34386\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Carlos Aparicio during his swearing-in as deputy director general of prisons (Centros Penales). Photo: CAPRES\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ECarlos Aparicio during his swearing-in as deputy director general of prisons (Centros Penales). Photo: CAPRES\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAs documented in official reports, informants\u2019 accounts describe a slow series of negotiation broken into stages, and confirm what a source\u2014a 38-year-old man from a western clique of MS-13 and past informant for police intelligence officers, who agreed to travel to the capital to speak about the relationship between Bukele and the gang\u2014told two journalists from El Faro on August 27, 2019. During the interview, the gang member claimed that the Bukele administration was working toward an agreement with the gang, even as the gang was reorganizing its leadership structure in the streets and facing complications in communicating with the \u201chistoric\u201d ranfla\u2014the term for the senior gang leadership that led the 2012 gang truce and was sent to maximum security prison when negotiations collapsed.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe gang member claimed during the meeting that his gang was monitoring advances in the negotiations, and conscious that positive movements would depend on maintaining low homicide levels, as in previous months. He declined to offer more details and said that he would reveal more little by little in future conversations. Due to lack of corroborating evidence, El Faro decided not to take his comments to press at the time.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOne of the pages of the Zacatecoluca logbook obtained by El Faro records the entry of another anonymous group to speak with three leaders of the Sure\u00f1os faction of Barrio 18, a rival of MS-13, but lists no date. All other documents obtained by El Faro refer exclusively to negotiations between administration officials and MS-13.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EEl Faro made multiple calls to Sof\u00eda Medina, press secretary for Casa Presidencial, and to the press office of the Ministry of Government, but neither responded. Reporters called and left WhatsApp messages with Carlos Aparicio, and, while he opened and read the messages, he declined to respond. Finally, reporters called the personal cell phone of Xavier Zablah, president of Nuevas Ideas, and left a Twitter message with the party\u2019s official account, given that two of the party\u2019s candidates\u2014Mario Dur\u00e1n and Dennis Salinas Berm\u00fadez\u2014are mentioned in this report. Neither responded.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EThe Logbooks and Masked Men\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe documents reviewed by El Faro include 108 pages from the past year of Zacatecoluca and Izalco Fase III logbooks, in which the guards on duty record daily activities such as meal deliveries, attorney and police visits, and ambulance calls. The guards note the time of arrival and departure of each visitor and a brief description of the event. The documents also include guards\u2019 change-of-shift reports, prisoner counts, and license plate numbers of visitors, as well as the signatures of those who have made the reports.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EEl Faro has thoroughly reviewed the documents and has refrained from publishing anything that could put any of the guards, police officers, or other public officials named in the documents at risk.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe documents El Faro has obtained, dated from October 18, 2019 to August 7, 2020, record that on at least 12 occasions Director Osiris Luna entered Zacatecoluca or Izalco Phase III with individuals who refused to identify themselves or even covered their faces with balaclavas. On three of these visits the director of Tejido Social, Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, was also present.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThree of the 12 irregular visits took place in Izalco, while nine took place in Zacatecoluca. On five of the visits to Zacatecoluca, the committee met with Diablo of Hollywood; on three of those five meetings, Snyder of Pasadena was also present. In total, 20 people with their faces covered by balaclavas were registered to have entered into the prison, though it is possible that the count includes the same person making multiple entrances.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe documents do not explain what went on during these meetings, though the wilas and the intelligence reports that we analyzed do describe the content. Taken in their entirety, the available documents shed light on the connections between public actions and official government announcements throughout the 15 month period, as well as the secret dialogue that the administration was maintaining with the imprisoned gang members.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=1349&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=34365\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"On August 12, 2020, the warden of Phase III of Izalco wrote to Director General Osiris Luna that Inspector Sol\u00eds Molina of the prison\u2019s security division had written an intelligence report on internal gang communications received from \u201creliable\u201d sources.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EOn August 12, 2020, the warden of Phase III of Izalco wrote to Director General Osiris Luna that Inspector Sol\u00eds Molina of the prison\u2019s security division had written an intelligence report on internal gang communications received from \u201creliable\u201d sources.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn June 21 of 2019, twenty days after his inauguration, Bukele announced on Twitter that he would enforce extraordinary measures in all of the country\u2019s prisons for two weeks, until July 5. But on June 28, supposed gang members hijacked a full passenger bus along route 202 in El Congo, Santa Ana, and raped two women. In response, Bukele ordered Director Osiris Luna to indefinitely extend the extraordinary measures: the closing of commissaries, a 24-hour lockdown, as well as the barring of visitors and the cancelation of educational and recreational programs.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn July 2, the president launched Phase II of his Territorial Control Plan, with the promise of ending crime: \u201cWe\u2019re going to push back on the gangs from the other side. I\u2019ve always said that if you arrest 50 gang members, they\u2019ll end up recruiting 100. This has got to change. This is the positive phase of our plan.\u201d At his side stood Carlos Marroqu\u00edn\u2014whose office, Tejido Social, was in charge of this second phase, and which focused on prevention and youth development. The government presented Marroqu\u00edn as an integral piece of its public security strategy.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ETwo months later, on September 2, 2019, Bukele \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1168707660952326152?lang=en\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etweeted a new order for Luna\u003C\/span\u003E \u003C\/a\u003E : \u201cAfter our country has experienced the month with fewest murders since the Peace Accords, I\u2019m ordering @OsirisLunaMeza to maintain total [state of] emergency in the @CentrosPenales. The downward trend needs to continue in September. The President needs to keep his word.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EJust three days later, a journalist at El Faro wrote to a gang member in the western part of the country who had mentioned that by August there were already negotiations taking place between gangs and the government: \u201cLook,\u201d the journalist wrote, \u201cthe month has started out violently.\u201d The gang member replied with a voice message, \u201cDidn\u2019t I tell you? I already told you about all of this.\u201d The journalist responded: \u201cTen murders just yesterday, two in your area, in Ahuachap\u00e1n.\u201d \u201cI told you this, and more, was coming. The good part hasn\u2019t started, but I want to talk about it in person.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe journalist set a meeting with him in San Salvador for September 13. At that meeting, the gang member emphasized that the agreements with the Bukele administration were coming along little by little, and that it would be normal to see some days with an uptick in murders as a form of pressure from the gang. He maintained, though, that MS-13 had issued a gangwide order \u201cto ask permission to the leaders in order to commit a murder\u201d under penalty of punishment, similar to when the gang had formed an internal group during the 2012 gang truce, known as La Familia or La Federaci\u00f3n, which had the sole authority to grant permission for a gang member to commit a murder.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAt the meeting with the El Faro journalist, the gang member was cautious and insisted on only revealing what he knew little by little. After that meeting, El Faro wasn\u2019t able to speak or meet with him again.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EA month later, the Zacatecoluca logbook registered an irregular entrance at 12:40 on October 18, 2019. It had been a month and a half since the easing of extraordinary measures, and Director General Osiris Luna arrived at the prison accompanied by the Zacatecoluca warden, Iv\u00e1n Orlando Rivas, along with \u201cRodr\u00edguez, L\u00f3pez and Campos.\u201d They claimed they were on \u201cofficial business\u201d and needed \u201caccess to Sector 2.\u201d The guard wrote the following: \u201cThe men only identified by their last name as Director General Osiris Luna permitted them to do. I still told them verbally that they were not following protocol.\u201d The driver who took them didn\u2019t identify himself either. The group left an hour later, at 1:40.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ETwo months later, on December 12, prison investigators intercepted wilas from Izalco Phase III to homeboys in the street, asking them to keep things calm because members \u201cin the street had already met and said that we needed to respect what they talked about with the government.\u201d They also said that if the government doesn\u2019t meet its part of the agreement, they were going to \u201copen the murder valves.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EBringing down the homicide rate by way of secret negotiations with gangs is nothing new in El Salvador. Neither is the fact that gangs regulate, or decrease, the homicide rate as a negotiating tool. Nor is the fact that one side of these negotiatinos seeks electoral benefit.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn March of 2012, the FMLN-led government secretly transferred about thirty leaders from MS-13 and the two factions of Barrio 18 from the maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca to ordinary prisons, where communication with the outside is much easier, and from which they could more easily run the gangs in the streets. A few days later, El Faro published news of the negotiations, which became known as \u201cthe truce,\u201d and which was orchestrated by David Mungu\u00eda Pay\u00e9s, the minister of security and justice in the Mauricio Funes administration. The consequences, in terms of murders, were extraordinary: from 4,371 in 2011, the number dropped to 2,594 in 2012. The exchange of lives for prison benefits achieved results.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn 2016 El Faro also revealed that in early 2014, a few months after the presidential elections in which FMLN candidate Salvador S\u00e1nchez Cer\u00e9n took office, both the FMLN and ARENA parties tried to renegotiate the previous agreement in exchange for gangs supporting their candidates. Meetings that took place with both parties and gang leaders were captured on video. Officials and gang members weren\u2019t negotiating lives, but rather votes. The recordings also show money transfers made to the gang members and promises of other economic benefits.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EBut after the elections, S\u00e1nchez Cer\u00e9n dismantled the agreements, and the results were obvious: with 6,656 murders in 2015, the first year of the new administration was the most violent in the country\u2019s history. Throughout the previous years of dialogue with the government, the gangs maintained their propensity for killing.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EA number of politicians face criminal charges for those negotiations, including Ar\u00edstides Valencia and Benito Lara, both members of the FMLN, and Mungu\u00eda Pay\u00e9s, former defense minister. Ernesto Muyshondt, current mayor of San Salvador who is running for reelection with Arena in 2021, also faces charges. Norman Quijano, member of Arena and former president of the Legislative Assembly, was able to avoid prosecution thanks to the fact that there were not enough votes to strip him of his immunity. Soon, however, his term will end. All of the previous officials are facing charges years after the negotiations took place.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EBukele has mentioned these negotiations on Twitter. On February 1, 2020, after learning of new charges being brought against officials of both the FMLN and ARENA, the president tweeted: \u201cArena and FMLN are trash, they\u2019re worse than that. They negotiated with the blood of our people. Damn them a thousand times.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EWhen Bukele sent off that tweet, his director of prisons, Osiris Luna, had already entered into Zacatecoluca with four masked men on four different occasions, according to the documents El Faro is now making public. On one of those occasions, as registered in the logbook, Luna arrived with three anonymous men to meet with Diablo and Snyder, leaders of MS-13 who had participated in the very negotiations that Bukele was condemning by tweet.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAt 8:15 am on December 20, 2019, the first reference to masked men appears in the documents. Along with Director Luna, according to the logs, \u201c3 persons with balaclavas, who do not identify themselves, do not pass through the full body scanner, are not patted down\u201d enter into Zacatecoluca. They arrived in a white Hilux pickup truck with license plate P803-956, and claimed to be going on a \u201cwalk-through of the prison.\u201d They left at 9:25, according to the log.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAccording to prison rules, as laid out in the Penitentiary Law and the General Rules of the Penitentiary Law, there is no article or exception that permits the entrance of unidentified persons into prisons anywhere in the country. Article 8 of the Law establishes that to enter into a prison, \u201cthe visitor should clearly identify themselves with a document issued by the proper authorities that includes a photograph.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1545&ImageId=34402\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"From 8:15 to 9:25 am on December 20, the logbook states that Director General Osiris Luna visited Zacatecoluca accompanied by three people wearing balaclavas who circumvented metal detectors and pat-downs. They arrived in vehicles with plates P337-539 and P803-956.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EFrom 8:15 to 9:25 am on December 20, the logbook states that Director General Osiris Luna visited Zacatecoluca accompanied by three people wearing balaclavas who circumvented metal detectors and pat-downs. They arrived in vehicles with plates P337-539 and P803-956.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn fact, subsection 4 of Article 14A of the Penitentiary Law requires prison officials to inform the Attorney General \u201cof any visitor who belongs to an organization officially banned by law, who takes part in activities related to criminal acts inside or outside of the prison.\u201d A source working within the prison system explained to El Faro that the article obliges guards in charge of monitoring visitors or the log books to write reports and present them to the Attorney General.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ECarlos Rodr\u00edguez, head of prison oversight for the Human Rights Ombudsman, explains that the law requires strict security measures for anyone entering into prisons. \u201cAbsolutely. We have to follow the rules, identify ourselves, submit ourselves to the scanner and the pat-down, which is sometimes uncomfortable. We haven\u2019t found any other way of entering into the prisons without the security protocols. We\u2019ve even received complaints from prison workers because every time they enter and leave they have to submit themselves to these controls.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EIllegal Negotiations\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn August, 2015, the Constitutional Court declared the Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Barrio 18 gangs to be terrorist organizations in a resolution that obliges judges to uniformly apply the Anti-Terrorism Law to gang members\u2014as well as to their supporters and financial backers. The Court also declared \u201cinadmissible\u201d any negotiation with these or similar organizations and specified which acts would be considered acts of terrorism.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe Court declared that efforts to establish agreements with gang members or to offer them prison benefits are illegal. \u201cIt is not to be considered admissible under law based on the constitutional right to apply paralegal mechanisms such as negotiations with criminals, and even less so with organized criminal groups, including efforts to reduce indices of delinquency in exchange for benefits not within the normal penitentiary parameters ultimately imposed under penalty\u2014Art. 27, Cn\u2014or in exchange of not imposing the application of the penal law.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOne of the judges who signed the declaration explained to El Faro what was considered inadmissible: \u201cAdministrations may not legitimize these groups or discuss with them things outside of the law. Any negotiation on the margins of the law could be to agree to a drop in murders in exchange for things like parties thrown for the prisoners, for example.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe prisoners Osiris Luna and his group were visiting in Zacatecoluca were named for the first time, according to documents obtained by El Faro, on his following visit. At 10 am on January 9, 2020, Luna entered the prison grounds in his \u201cpersonal truck\u201d with \u201cthree others who did not identify themselves, to interview two prisoners, Borromeo [Diablo] and Tiberio [Snyder],\u201d according to the logbook. They left the prison at 11:40.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe following day, January 10, a driver, two guards, and a nurse transferred Snyder from Zacatecoluca prison to a hospital in Santa Teresa for an \u201cemergency medical consultation\u201d at 4:40 pm. The logbook notes: \u201cLeaves by order of director general of prisons, Osiris Luna, and the warden, Insp. Juan Jos\u00e9 Ram\u00edrez. The [prisoner] returns with diagnosis of acid reflux and arterial hypertension.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EFour days later, Luna and the Zacatecoluca warden return to the prison with \u201cfour unidentified people in balaclavas.\u201d At 4:15 pm, the logbook registers that \u201cthe director and three hooded men\u201d entered the premises in vehicle P842-331, and \u201canother hooded man\u201d arrived in vehicle P638-554. They claimed they were going to \u201cinterview prisoners in different units\u201d and they left at 5:30 in the afternoon. The vehicle with plate number P842-331 belongs, according to the vehicular registry, to Dennis Fernando Salinas Berm\u00fadez, the deputy director of Tejido Social.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=34368\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"4:15 to 5:30 pm on January 14, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Luna and the warden returned to the prison with another \u201cfour unidentified men wearing balaclavas.\u201d At 4:15 pm, according to the logbook, \u201cthe director [Luna] and three masked men\u201d entered the premises in vehicle P842-331 and \u201canother masked man\u201d in vehicle P638-554. They said they were going to \u201cinterview prisoners in different sectors\u201d and left at 5:30 in the afternoon. El Faro confirmed that Dennis Fernando Salinas Berm\u00fadez purchased vehicle P842-331 on February 23, 2019 for $14,000. Salinas Berm\u00fadez is deputy director of Tejido Social, the office run by Carlos Marroqu\u00edn under the Ministry of Government. Berm\u00fadez was a professional goalkeeper for various Salvadoran teams, including Alianza, FAS, Balboa, Firpo, and Marte, and is now a candidate for deputy of San Salvador for Nuevas Ideas in the 2021 elections, having received the fourth-highest vote total in the party\u2019s primary.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E4:15 to 5:30 pm on January 14, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Luna and the warden returned to the prison with another \u201cfour unidentified men wearing balaclavas.\u201d At 4:15 pm, according to the logbook, \u201cthe director [Luna] and three masked men\u201d entered the premises in vehicle P842-331 and \u201canother masked man\u201d in vehicle P638-554. They said they were going to \u201cinterview prisoners in different sectors\u201d and left at 5:30 in the afternoon. El Faro confirmed that Dennis Fernando Salinas Berm\u00fadez purchased vehicle P842-331 on February 23, 2019 for $14,000. Salinas Berm\u00fadez is deputy director of Tejido Social, the office run by Carlos Marroqu\u00edn under the Ministry of Government. Berm\u00fadez was a professional goalkeeper for various Salvadoran teams, including Alianza, FAS, Balboa, Firpo, and Marte, and is now a candidate for deputy of San Salvador for Nuevas Ideas in the 2021 elections, having received the fourth-highest vote total in the party\u2019s primary.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EBerm\u00fadez played goalkeeper for various Salvadoran soccer teams, including Alianza, FAS, Balboa, Firpo y Marte, and is currently running for the National Assembly in San Salvador as a candidate for Nuevas Ideas.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn one of the documents analyzed by El Faro, deputy director Salinas Berm\u00fadez appears in a photograph above a photograph of White de Iberias and below a photograph of Fernando Alberto Rivera Dur\u00e1n (or \u201cFercho\u201d), who is the Nuevas Ideas candidate for the mayor of Cuscatancingo. The document doesn\u2019t elaborate on the three photographs, but prison investigators were clearly concerned enough about the congressional candidate to include him in one of their reports.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAt 6:30 pm on February 4, Osiris Luna again entered Zacatecoluca in a vehicle with license plate number P841-810 with \u201canother individual with a balaclava who didn\u2019t identify himself.\u201d They left at 7:35 in the evening.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ESix days later, the deputy director of Tejido Social, Berm\u00fadez, returned to Zacatecoluca. Given how the logbook was redacted, it can be inferred that the guard recognized the official despite him wearing a balaclava. They entered the prison at 8:45 am in a vehicle with license plate P337-539, driven by Luna. The logbook reads, \u201cwith the deputy director of Tejido Social and his companion, both with balaclavas and not identifying themselves. Came to tour the prison.\u201d They left at 10:00 in the morning.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1292&ImageId=34375\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"8:45 to 10 am on February 10, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. The deputy director of Tejido Social, Berm\u00fadez, reappeared. Given how the logbook was redacted, it can be inferred that the guard recognized the official despite him wearing a balaclava. A vehicle P337-539 driven by Luna entered the premises at 8:45 am carrying \u201cthe deputy director of Tejido Social and another individual, both wearing balaclavas and refusing to identify themselves. They came to do a tour of the facility.\u201d\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E8:45 to 10 am on February 10, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. The deputy director of Tejido Social, Berm\u00fadez, reappeared. Given how the logbook was redacted, it can be inferred that the guard recognized the official despite him wearing a balaclava. A vehicle P337-539 driven by Luna entered the premises at 8:45 am carrying \u201cthe deputy director of Tejido Social and another individual, both wearing balaclavas and refusing to identify themselves. They came to do a tour of the facility.\u201d\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn March, there were three more visits by people who did not identify themselves. For all of these visits Osiris Luna was present. In two of these three visits they met with Diablo of Hollywood, the most famous gang leader in the last twenty years. In one of the visits a gang member from White\u2019s clique, Iberias, was present. At 1 pm on March 4, Luna entered Zacatecoluca accompanied by four police officers who did not identify themselves to interview Diablo. The gang member returned to his sector at 2:40 pm. Seven days later, between 3:35 and 5:55 pm, Luna visited the prison with a new group that included deputy director of prisons, \u00c9lmer Mira, who was removed from his post at the end of July without public explanation. That post is now filled by Carlos Aparicio.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAparicio is one of Carlos Marroqu\u00edn\u2019s trusted aides. He worked as coordinator for social reintegration in Tejido Social.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAccording to Article 20 of the Penitentiary Law, deputy directors of Centros Penales should have the following qualifications: \u201cbe Salvadoran by birth, obtain a university degree relevant to prison work or have knowledge of the administration of prisons,\u201d among others. According to his CV, instead of a university degree, Aparicio has a diploma issued in 2013 by the Bethel Bible Institute of the Assembly of God that accredits him as a \u201cgraduate in theology.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ENayib Bukele\u2019s administration substituted him for Mira, who according to his CV published on the Prison Bureau\u2019s website, graduated with a degree in criminal justice \u201cand took courses on control of prisoners and prison maintenance, penitentiary administration and criminology, and an advanced course in prison management.\u201d He was replaced by Aparicio, a man in Marroqu\u00edn\u2019s circle who doesn\u2019t even meet the minimum legal requirements for the position.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ELuna and Mira arrived to the prison on March 11 in an official prison vehicle along with \u201cfour other people who did not identify themselves\u201d in a vehicle without license plates. The logbooks register that the group entered into the video-visitation room to speak with Diablo, Snyder, and a third prisoner: Pablo Renderos. El Faro reviewed Zacatecoluca prison records confirming that Pablo Antonio Renderos Cruz, alias Bad Spirit or Gato of the Iberias clique, was sentenced to 35 years in 2007 for first-degree murder and illicit association.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1390&ImageId=34376\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"\u00a03:35 to 5:55 pm on March 11, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Luna visited with a new group including then-deputy director of Centros Penales \u00c9lmer Mira, who was fired without public justification at the end of July. Luna and Mira arrived in an official vehicle from Centros Penales, while \u201cfour unidentified people\u201d arrived in a plateless vehicle. The logbooks note that the group entered the video conference room to speak with Diablito, Snyder, and Pablo Renderos. El Faro reviewed Zacatecoluca prison records confirming that Pablo Antonio Renderos Cruz, alias Bad Spirit or Gato of the Iberias clique, was sentenced to 35 years in 2007 for first-degree murder and illicit association.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E\u00a03:35 to 5:55 pm on March 11, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Luna visited with a new group including then-deputy director of Centros Penales \u00c9lmer Mira, who was fired without public justification at the end of July. Luna and Mira arrived in an official vehicle from Centros Penales, while \u201cfour unidentified people\u201d arrived in a plateless vehicle. The logbooks note that the group entered the video conference room to speak with Diablito, Snyder, and Pablo Renderos. El Faro reviewed Zacatecoluca prison records confirming that Pablo Antonio Renderos Cruz, alias Bad Spirit or Gato of the Iberias clique, was sentenced to 35 years in 2007 for first-degree murder and illicit association.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ETwo days later, Director Luna leveraged his position to hide the identity of another group entering the facility. At 7:40 am on March 13, Luna and \u201ctwo people without identification or record\u201d entered aboard a beige Land Cruiser without license plates. They claimed the purpose of their visit was to take a tour. They left for lunch at 1:45 and returned at 2:30. The next day, Izalco logbooks recorded the entry of Carlos Aparicio\u2014who wouldn\u2019t be nominated as deputy director of Centros Penales until July 29\u2014with the purpose of supervising \u201csanitary measures\u201d and \u201ccells.\u201d At the time, he still worked for Tejido Social\u2014an office under the Ministry of Government, rather than the Ministry of Security and Justice.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EUptick in Deaths\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn April 25, another important event took place that evaded prison logbooks: Bukele ordered a state of emergency within the prison system following a spike in homicides amid the pandemic that left 50 dead in three days. April has been the most violent month of 2020 so far, registering 145 homicides. The president\u2019s subordinates echoed the order on social media. On Sunday, April 26, Director Luna tweeted: \u201cToday the gangs no longer get their own cell blocks. We\u2019ve mixed these terrorist groups together in the same cells, in all of the @CentrosPenales run by [the Ministry of Security]. The state demands respect!\u201d That same day, Bukele wrote another controversial tweet: \u201cThe use of deadly force is authorized in cases of self-defense or to protect the lives of the Salvadoran people.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EVarious news outlets and human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch denounced the images published by the government showing hundreds of prisoners stripped down to their underwear and sitting crowded one behind another. Bukele tweeted his response to critics on April 30: \u201cThe amount of international support for the \u003Cem\u003Emaras\u003C\/em\u003E is incredible. Organizations who stay quiet when they carve up Salvadorans are now throwing a tantrum because we took away their privileges. We weren\u2019t wrong when we said they were an international network of criminals.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn May 13, just two weeks after the commotion on social media, though, the mysterious visitors from the Bukele administration returned to the prisons.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAt 4:25 pm, the logbook from Phase III of Izalco recorded that Luna, Marroqu\u00edn, and eight other unidentified people entered the facility for the purpose of \u201cunit inspection.\u201d There are no provisions in the regulations of Tejido Social assigning the duty of cell block inspections to Marroqu\u00edn, nor are there provisions in the regulations of Centros Penales allowing unidentified people to enter facilities for that purpose.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAt 8:42 am the next day, camera footage captured two vehicles entering the premises. The logbook states that Luna and \u201cseven unidentified guests entered the facility\u201d for the same purpose as the day before. They left two hours later.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1430&ImageId=34374\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"No date listed, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Relocations and clothing distribution. Osiris Luna arrived at 4 pm for different activities. A group of agents gave clothing to Tiberio Ram\u00edrez, alias Diablo, and Borromeo Enrique Henr\u00edquez, alias Snyder. The record also details cell block transfers ordered by Director General Luna.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ENo date listed, 2020 in Zacatecoluca. Relocations and clothing distribution. Osiris Luna arrived at 4 pm for different activities. A group of agents gave clothing to Tiberio Ram\u00edrez, alias Diablo, and Borromeo Enrique Henr\u00edquez, alias Snyder. The record also details cell block transfers ordered by Director General Luna.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ERecords from Zacatecoluca also note three more visits of unidentified people accompanying Luna, but the images obtained by El Faro fail to specify the dates of the trips. On one occasion, five people enter wearing balaclavas. On another, five unidentified people entered at noon, and guards noted: \u201cIt\u2019s important to mention the entry of two institutional cell phones.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn the third occasion, Luna arrived with three unidentified people to speak with Diablo and Snyder. On another day, prison officials arrived to leave clothing and sheets with Diablo and Snyder, \u201cas ordered by higher-ups,\u201d and to transfer \u00c9lmer Canales Rivera, alias Crook, \u201cas ordered by the director.\u201d Crook is one of the recognizable leaders of MS-13\u2019s historic ranfla that negotiated the 2012 gang truce.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOne last visit\u2014this one dateless, too\u2014stands out from the rest of the documents. A page of the Zacatecoluca logbook notes that at 4:25 pm the warden arrived with Luna and \u201cfour unidentified guests, to interview prisoners.\u201d The record lists: Carlos Alberto Rivas Barahona, alias Chino Tres Colas of the Sure\u00f1os faction of Barrio 18; Douglas Geovany Vel\u00e1squez Navas, alias Payaso of the Sure\u00f1os; and Carlos Ernesto Mojica Lechuga, alias Viejo Lin of the Sure\u00f1os. The meeting took place in room six and lasted one hour, according to the record. The contents of the discussion have yet to be revealed.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cem\u003E*Translated by Roman Gressier and John Washington\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"}