Carlos Roberto Silva Pereira, who had been a fugitive from justice since last January, was captured on Friday, October 5, in southern California. Silva was a deputy from the PCN political party in the National Assembly and was wanted on charges of corruption and money laundering. He had made his way illegally into the US before being captured in Anaheim, California.
The money-laundering charges stem from a long-running fraud while Silva-Pereira held a seat on El Salvador's equivalent of national congress.
According to the country's national police director-general, Silva-Pereira set up a phony construction company that obtained contracts for lucrative projects that were never completed, and pocketed millions.
By laundering more than $10 million, Silva-Pereira bought sport cars and even helicopters, while soliciting bribes from many mayors, said Rodrigo Avila, director-general of El Salvador's national police.
"The whole thing was a fraud," Avila said Saturday by phone.
"He represents corruption and abuse of politics. He's actually corrupted more than 40 people who are incarcerated because of him. The guy made millions."
Silva-Pereira was first investigated in late 2005, and after his immunity was waived late last year, he was indicted.
After learning of the charges, he fled to the U.S. through Guatemala and Mexico, finally jumping a fence into the country, Avila said. (more)
El Faro's special coverage of the arrest is here.