Yesterday, May 6, the Seventh Justice of the Peace Court of San Salvador ordered the capture of the former ARENA party deputy, Norman Quijano, charged with electoral fraud for negotiating with gangs in exchange for votes in the 2014 presidential elections.
The decision was known, on Thursday afternoon, at the end of the initial hearing to which Quijano did not appear and to which only his defense attorneys attended.
The judge based its decision on the arrest warrant based on the fact that Quijano had not had any reliable evidence of wanting to submit to the criminal process, said Arturo Cruz, the prosecutor in the case.
A red note of arrest will be sent to Interpol by the Salvadoran authorities. Therefore, the former deputy, and candidate for the presidency for the ARENA party in 2014, could be detained in any country where he is and then be extradited to El Salvador.
According to Salvadoran authorities, Quijano left the country a day before his term as Legislative Assembly ended. Over the last 20 years, Quijano has been one of the most popular and influential politicians of the right-wing political party ARENA.
“To the Salvadoran people, I tell you that I don’t have the slightest doubt that I will defend my innocence until my last breath. When required, I will present myself and show my face. Because as I have always said to those who know me, I am innocent,”
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the negotiation between Quijano and gangs supposedly took place in a church called Red de Pastores.
After holding that meeting, a second meeting was set up by the former gang’s negotiator Raul Mijango. This meeting was attended by Paolo Luers, members of MS13, Barrio 18 Sureños, and Barrio 18 Revolucionario. Also, the former mayor of Ilopango Salvador Ruano, and the former mayor of the capital, Ernesto Muyshondt.
Authorities claim that Paolo Lüers gave $100,000 to the three gangs present, MS13, 18 Revolutionaries, and 18 Sureños; they distributed the money among themselves.
The Prosecutor’s Office says it has videos of the meeting of former candidate Norman Quijano with the gang members and other evidence that corroborates the delivery of money to the gangs.
“He began to negotiate and gave them $100,000 in order for them to endorse the votes of the gangs, as well as their families, and have an impact on the community where they operated; in the sense of putting pressure on the inhabitants of said communities to vote for ARENA,” said the prosecutor.