TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Sept. 13 (UPI) — The National Police of Honduras said it arrested Delvin Salgado, mayor of Honduras’ northern El Negrito town, on suspicion of “assassination and illicit association” with local crime gangs.
Honduran prosecutors accuse Salgado of directing a group of assassins to commit two murders between 2013 and 2014, and of maintaining links with organized crime. He is one of at least 35 mayors or deputy mayors in Honduras currently being investigated for criminal association, according to police.
“I swear on my father and mother who just died that I am not responsible of any crime. I have nothing to do with this,” Salgado said after his arrest on Wednesday, according to El Heraldo. He was later transported to Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital.
Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world at a rate of 66 for every 100,000 people, according to Honduras’ National Violence Observatory. Honduran officials carried out 115 other raids on Wednesday with an unspecified number of arrests related to suspicions of robbery, drug trafficking, human trafficking, weapons smuggling, stealing land and being linked to criminal groups.
About 10,000 Honduran police officers are being investigated during a government crackdown on crime and corruption that began in April. About 300 veteran police officials have been fired since.