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  • Alexander Mendoza, also known as “El Porky,” managed to escape during the attack in the city of El Progreso, 175 kilometers (108 miles) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa.

    Alexander Mendoza, also known as “El Porky,” managed to escape during the attack in the city of El Progreso, 175 kilometers (108 miles) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa. | Photo: La Prensa

Published 13 February 2020

Twenty armed men opened fire against the authorities that accompanied Alexander Mendoza, one of the most senior leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha,

A group of gunmen dressed in military fatigues and police uniforms killed three police officers and wounded two others during an attack to free Alexander Mendoza, one of the most senior leaders of Mara Salvatrucha, in Honduras, local authorities said.

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Mendoza, also known as “El Porky,” managed to escape during the attack in the city of El Progreso, 175 kilometers (108 miles) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa. He was supposed to be transferred to the Támara National Penitentiary after Thursday’s trial.

Preliminary investigations indicate that 20 armed men participated in the attack, riding in three vans. They opened fire against authorities that accompanied Mendoza. The vehicles, uniforms and guns used were found nearby school Policarpo Bonilla, near the crime scene, reported local newspaper La Prensa.

“We are going to recapture this man and arrest those who helped him escape,” said Deputy Minister of Security Luis Suazo, referring to the immediate activation of a recapture operation that contemplates the closure of all the exits of the city.

“El Porky” had been arrested in December 2015, an operation called “Avalanche.” Three years later, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for an illegal association, sale, and distribution of drugs, money laundering and bribes to police officers.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández offered a reward of 2 million lempiras ($80,000) for information that leads to Mendoza’s recapture.

The notorious Mara Salvatrucha crime group was founded by Salvadorans in Los Angeles in the 1980s and spread to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala as the United States deported waves of migrants.

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