Honduras' judiciary says a small-town mayor has made an initial appearance before a judge in San Pedro Sula on murder and illicit association charges.

In a Tuesday statement, the country's judiciary says El Negrito Mayor Delvin Salgado Fuentes is among five people arrested in connection with two killings in 2013 and 2014. It adds that Salgado was the "material author" of the slayings.

The statement says Salgado has been linked to two criminal bands, including a group that killed suspected criminals in El Negrito. Honduras is plagued with intense gang violence.

One of its victims was a police officer who ordered that the group disarm. Salgado allegedly intervened so that their weapons were returned. Days later, the police officer was ambushed and killed.