The Catholic official is accused of helping hardened criminals get lesser sentences and continue extorting their victims
Authorities in El Salvador have handed down new charges for a Spanish priest charged with participating in gang activity and giving aid to gang members.
The litany of charges against Roman Catholic priest Antonio Rodriguez Tercero includes: convincing officials to reduce gang member sentences, smuggling contraband into prisons and helping gang members continue extorting victims from behind prison walls, the Associated Press reports.
Tercero says he is being targeted due to his “honesty.” The priest, who runs a parish in a low-income neighborhood and works with gang member rehabilitation programs, has been a critic of the Salvadoran government’s anti-gang efforts.
The same sweep that nabbed Tercero also netted 12 police officers, two judges, three court employees and two prosecution officials for suspected collaboration with the region’s powerful street gangs.