A total of 105 Colombians were arrested in El Salvador for allegedly defrauding and laundering more than 20 million dollars through microfinance institutions that were not registered in the Central American country, security authorities reported on Monday.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the network, which was also made up of three Salvadorans, a Guatemalan and an Argentine, who were arrested, lent money from illegal activities with an interest of 20% but, when the victims could not pay the loan, they usurped their identity, obtained their bank accounts and transferred the money to Colombia.
The authorities, who received some 3,000 complaints, confirmed that the criminal structure made several money remittances to Colombia for more than 20 million dollars since 2021, an amount allegedly linked to drug trafficking and gang activities.
“Colombians are our brothers, but as in any society, there is always a small percentage that wants to take advantage of others; some of them have come to commit crimes in our country. These people will have to face Salvadoran justice, whoever claims it,” wrote President Nayib Bukele on Twitter.
The Colombian foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for information from Reuters.
Bukele, who will seek re-election in next year’s presidential elections, he has waged a “war” against gangs that has garnered him unprecedented popularity. However, the measure has also drawn strong criticism from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which claim that law enforcement is violating the rights of detainees.