Police seized more than 900 packages of cigarettes that the Mara Salvatrucha gang would distribute in Santa Tecla

A total of 938 packages of contraband cigarettes were seized by the National Civil Police (PNC) in Santa Tecla. The merchandise would be distributed by Mara Salvatrucha structures that commit crimes in the area.

The police report details that the cigarettes were going to be dispatched by members of the gang in the markets and surroundings of the central zone of the country.

The procedure was carried out by research teams in the El Milagro parking lot, located on the Pan-American highway between 1a. and 3a. Av. Sur in the municipality of Santa Tecla.

Authorities reported no arrests.

According to statistics from the Border Security section of the Police, from January 2019 to January 2021 they seized a total of 31,000 packages with a value of $881,200 in 151 procedures carried out nationwide. They also seized 19 vehicles and detained 31 people accused of the crime of smuggling merchandise, in this case cigarettes.

According to the authorities, cigarette smuggling generates two problems for the state: one due to spending on public health due to respiratory diseases caused by this type of cigarette that does not comply with health records; and two, due to the millionaire losses left to the treasury by evading taxes.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance, the Salvadoran government fails to collect approximately $21,000,000 in taxes for the illicit trade of cigarettes each year.