Honduras MS-13 leader freed after gunmen storm court building

“El Porky” has slipped from the grasp of Honduran authorities.

Alexander Mendoza, the senior MS-13 gang leader with the swine-related nickname, managed to escape custody this week following a shootout at a courthouse.

Investigators say at least 20 gunmen dressed in military fatigues and police uniforms stormed the building in El Progreso on Thursday, where Mendoza was appearing for a trial hearing on numerous murder charges, according to the BBC. The chaos left four police officers and one of the suspects dead.

Alexander "El Porky" Mendoza, an MS-13 leader, has escaped from police custody in Honduras.

Alexander "El Porky" Mendoza, an MS-13 leader, has escaped from police custody in Honduras. (Honduras Police)

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Surveillance footage said to be taken from inside the courthouse reportedly showed Mendoza first being escorted in handcuffs by Honduran security forces. Then armed men arrive and are seen forcing people into rooms. A few minutes later, Mendoza, carrying what appears to be a machine gun and pistol, reappears and walks out of the courtroom with no handcuffs in sight, the BBC says.

It's not clear how Mendoza was freed, but a shootout between the gunmen and security forces then erupted outside the building.

Mendoza and 11 of the gunmen fled in vehicles that were waiting at the scene. The vehicles and weapons were later found abandoned nearby – along with the body of the suspect who was killed in the raid, the BBC reported, citing local media.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández is now offering an $80,000 reward for information leading to Mendoza’s arrest.

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"We're going to recapture this man and arrest those who helped him escape,” Deputy Minister of Security Luis Suazo added.

Prior to his current trial, Mendoza had been sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2018 for money laundering and illicit association.

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