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Judge Orders House Arrest for Former El Salvador Defense Minister Linked to Gang Conspiracy

By VOA News July 30, 2020

El Salvador's former defense minister, General David Munguía Payes, is under house arrest, a week after he was detained for being involved in a pact with gangs.

A judge on Wednesday issued the order for General Payes, who prosecutors allege acted as part of a criminal conspiracy when he failed to carry out his duties for a gang truce to lower the country's soaring murder rate in 2012.

One prosecutor said, the decision for Munguía's house arrest order was based on concerns about his hypertension.

Aside from being confined to his house, Munguía is barred from contacting others implicated in the case.

The Associated Press said, the administration of former President Mauricio Funes allegedly made a pact with the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio gangs to reduce the country's murder rate in exchange for jailed gang leaders being transferred from maximum security to medium security prisons.

Funes, who denies any collusion with gangs, fled to Nicaragua, where he was granted citizenship last year.

It's unclear if Funes will be returned to El Salvador, where he faces charges, including embezzlement.

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