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Some 280 Colombians leave El Salvador – DW – 07/25/2023

Some 280 Colombians leave El Salvador – DW – 07/25/2023

More than 280 Colombians with an “irregular situation” in El Salvador have left the Central American country after it revealed the existence of a “transnational” criminal organization dedicated to illegal moneylending, Justice and Security Ministry head Gustavo Villadoro said.

On July 17, the official assured that “more than 400 Colombians” were in the country irregularly, which is why he gave these people 72 hours to leave Salvadoran territory. “In those 72 hours, we identified more than 280 departures of these Colombians,” Villatoro said in an interview with a local channel.

The minister confirmed that “others (Colombians) were able to leave the country through unauthorized routes”, “seeking the territory of Guatemala”, “where the criminal organization is also located”.

El Salvador’s Attorney General Rodolfo Delgado said on July 17 that the Central American country has an alleged “criminal” organization dedicated to fraud and money laundering by foreigners, mostly “Colombians”.

Delgado said 110 people linked to the said structure have already been arrested, “most of them Colombian.” However, the public prosecutor did not specify when those arrested or when the arrested foreigners would be produced in the relevant courts.

The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for its part, in a statement published on July 19, accused El Salvadoran authorities of belonging to criminal organizations that have committed more than 60 Colombian citizens to illegal money loans since 2022.

“From March 2022 to date, the Consular Section is aware of a total of 63 arrests of comrades questioned for this reason,” an official statement said.

The revelation by Salvadoran officials of the alleged organization comes at a time when relatives of the Colombians have denounced the capture of their relatives by human rights organizations in the country, within the framework of the emergency rule implemented by the government of Nayeb Bukele to end the gangs.

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Colombians were imprisoned in El Salvador

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