The Americas

El Salvador strikes blow against gang in operation

  • A suspected Mara Salvatrucha, or MS, gang member is taken away by a police officer after he was arrested and shown to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Authorities in El Salvador are claiming a strong blow against the leadership and financing of the MS, one of the country's principal street gangs. A police spokesman says they seized weapons, cash and vehicles during raids at homes, restaurants, bars, motels, mechanic garages and a car lot. They froze 30 bank accounts allegedly tied to the gang and arrested 77 people, including the man in charge of the gang's finances, who is also an evangelical preacher. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

    A suspected Mara Salvatrucha, or MS, gang member is taken away by a police officer after he was arrested and shown to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Authorities in El Salvador are claiming a strong blow against the leadership and financing of the MS, one of the country's principal street gangs. A police spokesman says they seized weapons, cash and vehicles during raids at homes, restaurants, bars, motels, mechanic garages and a car lot. They froze 30 bank accounts allegedly tied to the gang and arrested 77 people, including the man in charge of the gang's finances, who is also an evangelical preacher. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Suspected Mara Salvatrucha gang members, or MS, sit in the back of a truck after they were arrested and shown to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Authorities in El Salvador are claiming a strong blow against the leadership and financing of the MS, one of the country's principal street gangs. A police spokesman says they seized weapons, cash and vehicles during raids at homes, restaurants, bars, motels, mechanic garages and a car lot. They froze 30 bank accounts allegedly tied to the gang and arrested 77 people, including the man in charge of the gang's finances, who is also an evangelical preacher. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

    Suspected Mara Salvatrucha gang members, or MS, sit in the back of a truck after they were arrested and shown to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Authorities in El Salvador are claiming a strong blow against the leadership and financing of the MS, one of the country's principal street gangs. A police spokesman says they seized weapons, cash and vehicles during raids at homes, restaurants, bars, motels, mechanic garages and a car lot. They froze 30 bank accounts allegedly tied to the gang and arrested 77 people, including the man in charge of the gang's finances, who is also an evangelical preacher. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Suspected Mara Salvatrucha, or MS,  gang members sit in the back of a truck after they were arrested and shown to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Authorities in El Salvador are claiming a strong blow against the leadership and financing of the MS, one of the country's principal street gangs. A police spokesman says they seized weapons, cash and vehicles during raids at homes, restaurants, bars, motels, mechanic garages and a car lot. They froze 30 bank accounts allegedly tied to the gang and arrested 77 people, including the man in charge of the gang's finances, who is also an evangelical preacher. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

    Suspected Mara Salvatrucha, or MS, gang members sit in the back of a truck after they were arrested and shown to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Authorities in El Salvador are claiming a strong blow against the leadership and financing of the MS, one of the country's principal street gangs. A police spokesman says they seized weapons, cash and vehicles during raids at homes, restaurants, bars, motels, mechanic garages and a car lot. They froze 30 bank accounts allegedly tied to the gang and arrested 77 people, including the man in charge of the gang's finances, who is also an evangelical preacher. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in El Salvador are claiming a strong blow against the leadership and financing of one of the country's principal street gangs.

Attorney General Douglas Melendez said at a news conference Thursday that five leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha gang were arrested, including the man in charge of the gang's finances.

National Civil Police Director Howard Cotto says authorities seized weapons, cash and vehicles during raids at homes, restaurants, bars, motels, garages and a car lot. They froze 30 bank accounts allegedly tied to the gang and arrested 77 people.

Among the arrests was Marvin Adaly Ramos Quintanilla, allegedly the gang's treasurer, who is also an evangelical preacher. Melendez says Ramos' work as a pastor gave him access to gang leaders in the country's prisons.