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Mexican Drug Traffickers Take Advantage of American-Funded Highway in El Salvador

By Tracy Wilkinson
Los Angeles Times

DULCE de MARIA, El Salvador –The Mexican drug gangs rapidly infiltrating Central America call El Salvador “El Caminito,” the little pathway.

Once a bystander in the region’s narco-business, this tiny country now finds itself enmeshed in an expanding drug trade, a shift brought on in part by the presence of a new, U.S.-funded highway that provides an overland route for shipping cocaine north.

For years, traffickers used speedboats and small submarine-type vessels to move drugs from Colombia to northern Guatemala or Mexico, using water routes to circumvent much of Central America. But with government sea patrols improving and new cartels creating competition in parts of Guatemala, some Mexican gangs have switched to moving their shipments overland through Central America, using the new roadway through El Salvador.

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