Honduran security forces battle the Espinoza gang

first_img At any given time, the Espinoza gang has about 40 leaders and key operatives. Most of these are immediate and extended family members. The Espinoza family formed a gang in 2010, according to police. The Espinoza family was involved in a land dispute with another family. Members of the Espinoza family allegedly set fire to several properties owned by the other family. The Espinozas left signs at properties owned by the other family; the signs threatened that anyone who bought property from the family would die. In recent weeks, security forces captured two alleged key members of the Espinoza gang: Gonzalo Luque Ramos, 23, and Samuel Baires Ruiz. Security forces are still looking for alleged gang members Santos Isabel Espinoza Baires, 35; Walter Alexander Espinoza, 22, alias “El Militar”; Junia Espinoza Zúniga, 27; and Santos Priscila Espinoza Zúniga, 38. The Security Ministry is offering 250,000 Lempiras, or the equivalent of a little over $12,000 for information leading to their capture. “Operation Morazán has reduced impunity levels in the country,” says lawyer and security analyst Raúl Pineda Alvarado. “But it has not reduced the level of delinquency yet. The number of crimes has not gone down. What we have today is the largest number of prisoners in Central America, but we need to expand our vision to attack this problem from its inception. This is not only an issue for the police to solve. The police arrives after the commission of a crime, we need to nip it in the bud.” If the authorities took care of the population from the street, neighborhoods or communities, many of these organizations would never be born. The control of every segment, even of families, would be through the population itself, meaning, there would be a higher interrelation with the population. Gang members attack police The Espinoza gang Another battle Honduran police launched an aggressive security initiative in February 2014 to confront the gang and to improve public safety in San Luis and the surrounding region. “Normally we have 20 elements patrolling the zone, but in light of this chaotic, high-risk situation, we decided to send 85 more policemen, and a similar number of military officials additionally.” It wan’t long before alleged gang members attacked security forces. On t he morning of Feb. 10, 2014, suspected gang members attacked a group of police officers who were patrolling the village. “Shots rang from behind, from the front, from everywhere. They were attacked from all sides,” said Commissioner Elder Madrid, Strategic Director for the National Police. One of the attackers was a young boy, about age 12. Police would later spot him in one of the videos the gang made. “Police had seen the boy, but didn’t shoot because he was a child,” even though the boy fired shots at the police, Madrid said. Authorities suspect the boy had seen the police on patrol and had informed gang leaders. “We learned later they were training kids, when we searched the houses they were staying at and found the videos among bullet-proof vests, helmets and other military paraphernalia,” Madrid said. Gang members wounded five police officers. Two of the officers sustained serious wounds. Authorities flew those two officers in a helicopter to a hospital in Tegucigalpa. The suspected gang members, including the boy, escaped through coffee plantations and dense bush, officials said. A trail of blood indicated that some of them were wounded. center_img By Dialogo March 20, 2014 A few days after police and the military increased their patrols, security forces in San Luis engaged in a gun battle with five suspected members of Los Espinozas. The security forces killed Darwin Rafael Espinoza, 25. Police sent in reinforcements as part of a security initiative known as “Operation Morazán.” Within days, police engaged in another gun battle with suspected Los Espinozas gang members. Security forces killed José Gerónimo Espinoza, 23, an alleged gang leader who was known as “El Chambo.” Police Director Sabillón described the gang leaders’ way of thinking: “This criminal group says: I was born here, I grew here, here is where I will die.” That is exactly what is happening, authorities said. Honduran security forces are waging a fierce battle with the Espinoza organized crime group in San Luis, a small village in a mountainous region of the department of Comayagua. Dozens of heavily-armed members of the Espinoza gang streamed into the village in 2013, apparently intent on taking over the village, which is in the central part of the country. Dressed in camouflage military-style clothing and fake or stolen police uniforms, the gang members invaded San Luis and other nearby villages, terrorizing residents with handguns and AK-47s. In February 2014, police released three videos the gang made. The videos show several gang members displaying their weapons as Mexican narcocorridos blast on the radio. In some of the video scenes, the men dance to Brazilian music with rifles slung over their shoulders. One video shows a pregnant girl who may have been held as a sexual slave, authorities said. Police Director Ramón Sabillón said in a recent press conference, “one of those videos shows children in training, learning to use firearms.” The gang members – many of whom belong to the Espinoza family – set fire to some of the homes that residents left behind and took over other houses. The Espinoza gang engages in extortion, theft, kidnapping and murder. Authorities suspect the gang collaborates with transnational criminal organizations, such as the Sinaloa Cartel, to traffic drugs. The Espinoza gang uses narcocorridos – songs which romanticize drug trafficking – to recruit children and teenagers, authorities have said. The gang is commonly known as Los Espinozas. last_img read more

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Suppliers flock to City Transport ’97

first_imgINTRO: Organised in conjunction with UITP’s Stuttgart congress, the City Transport ’97 exhibition takes place on June 2-5A wide range of products and services for urban and regional operators will be on display at City Transport ’97 in Stuttgart’s Messegelände exhibition and congress centre. The Transfloor range from Altro Floors has been developed specifically for the transport industry and features a high degree of wear, slip and impact resistance. Rolling stock for Pågatågen services in Sweden has recently been fitted with Transfloor. The Automatic Systems stand will present a new range of AFC gates equipped with contactless smart card readers for a throughput in excess of 60 passengers per min, alongside a turnstile with additional full-height anti-fraud door for SNCF and a gate with disabled access for the Stockholm metro. Exhibits from Dassault AT will include the TVM 200 ticket vending machine for RATP (below), desktop and self-standing versions of the ATB2 ticket printer, and the AGX 300 contactless turnstile with anti-fraud barrier. Deuta Werke will display its latest developments for rail vehicles, including microwave doppler speed sensors, modular event recorders with flash PC-card memory and multifunctional speed displays (top). The LVT/S diesel railcar for regional services will be presented by DWA at City Transport. This 21 tonne twin-axle air-conditioned design with a low-floor section 627mm above the rail seats 64 passengers, and is powered by a 265 kW engine for a maximum speed of 100 km/h. Erlau will be exhibiting its vehicle luggage rack systems, and for stations the Allegro range of seating and the Pedalo bicycle stand (right). Recent developments from Faiveley on show at City Transport include an electric sliding plug door system with telescopic support for LRVs, a compact roof-mounted cab air-conditioning unit and the Visio-PACS passenger-counting system. Sliding plug doors and electric door actuators will be amongst the IFE products on display, in addition to fire-resistant doors for metro cars, wheelchair ramps and windows. Kraiburg will show the PedeSTRAIL system of semi-elastic rubber panels for pedestrian level crossings in stations, depots and workshops. Manufactured from recycled rubber with a skid-resistant surface, the panels feature a narrow flange groove for greater wheelchair and buggy safety. To train personnel on DT8 LRVs, Krauss-Maffei Wehrtechnik has developed a dynamic driving simulator for UITP Congress host Stuttgarter Straßenbahn (left). As well as a full-scale cab with simulated noise and computer-generated projection of Line U1 in various light and weather conditions, the system includes a section of passenger compartment with doors for practising procedures at stops. The OK-DOT destination display from Meister is a lightweight design whose neon tubes can be changed without dismantling the display unit. Good contrast makes for improved legibility in all light conditions. Nya Perspektiv Design provides design services for the public transport sector, backed by international experience of the automotive industry. Plasser & Theurer will present its ZW range of self-loading tampers and ballast profilers, developed for use on urban and regional systems. The Sütrak range of products includes dot-matrix destination displays and air-conditioning units, which have been supplied for DWA double-deck railbuses and Bombardier Eurorail’s Talent railcar. Inverter specialist Transtechnik will be displaying a 77 kVA unit fitted in metro cars for Guangzhou, and a lightweight design for LRVs ordered by Üstra of Hannover. Exhibitors on the BEAMA stand include A K Fans, AB Connectors and BR Business Systems, presenting its vehicle tracking and asset management systems outside Great Britain for the first time. In addition to visual display equipment from Ferrograph, passenger information and vehicle location systems from Hanover Displays will be on show. Seating fabrics by John Holdsworth & Co, which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, rubber-metal bonded suspension and anti-vibration components from Metalastik and Parker Hannifin pneumatic automation products will also feature. Powernetics will display its range of power systems, including uninterruptible power supplies, DC-DC converters, battery chargers, static inverters and frequency changers. Seating by Rescroft will also feature. Silentbloc rubber and rubber-to-metal bonded products on show will include primary and auxiliary suspension mountings, radius control link assemblies and anti-roll bar systems. Vehicle engineering consultancy The Engineering Link and Westinghouse Brakes will also be present. olast_img read more

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