Honduran authorities conducted simultaneous raids on three prisons, adopting tactics reminiscent of President Nayib Bukele’s actions in neighboring El Salvador.
Security Secretary Gustavo Sanchez denied copying another country’s policy but acknowledged criticism from both sides.
The operations, known as Operation Faith and Hope, involved the Honduran Armed Forces and the Military Police of Public Order (PMOP) taking control of the penal centers.
The raids followed a gang dispute that resulted in 46 deaths at the National Female Penitentiary for Social Adaptation (PNFAS) in Támara.
(Inauguration of El Salvador’s mega prison a few months ago)
Inmates affiliated with the Barrio 18 gang smuggled firearms, machetes, and flammable liquid into the facility.
They overpowered guards, attacked Mara Salvatrucha members with gunfire and machetes, locked them in a cell, doused them with fuel, and set them on fire.
President Xiomara Castro condemned the event as a “monstrous murder of women” and placed all prisons under the control of PMOP.
In the recent operations, PMOP units, including helicopter insertion teams, containment, and requisition forces, discovered firearms, explosives, prohibited substances, and other prohibited items in prisons in Morocelí, El Paraíso (La Tolva), Támara, and PNFAS.
Honduran Secretary of Defense José Manuel Zelaya Rosales highlighted the significant discoveries and emphasized the government’s aim to transform the prisons into institutions that no longer facilitate criminal activities.
Honduras faces significant challenges due to high levels of gang violence and criminal activity, making it one of the most dangerous countries globally.
In response to a pool hall shooting that left 13 people dead in Choloma, President Castro implemented curfews in Choloma and San Pedro Sula, the second-largest city in the country.
These measures are part of Operation Sula Valley Lockdown and aim to address security concerns related to organized crime.
The government’s actions have received solidarity support from the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of the Central American Integration System (SICA).
The international community hopes that joint operations by law enforcement agencies will dismantle organized crime and bring the responsible individuals to justice.