A woman dubbed the 'Black Widow' has been arrested for leading a gang that recruited women to marry and murder men to claim their life insurance.
Esmeralda Aravel Flores Acosta, 39, was arrested in El Salvador suspected of heading the murderous racket.
"She pretended to be a housewife and told young women that they would marry eligible American bachelors and live in the United States," said the San Salvador police chief.
The men Flores Acosta selected held a steady job and were reasonably well-off, according to Australscope.
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"If they didn't already have it, the men were required to take out life insurance," police said, adding: "Then they would get married and live together for two or three weeks before gang members were sent to murder them."
The detainee is accused of aggravated human trafficking, conspiracy to commit aggravated homicide and aggravated fraud.
Police say that over $145,000 has been claimed in insurance following the deaths of several victims.
It is believed that Flores Acosta has been operating the violent scam for six months. Two other female gang members have also been arrested, one of whom is the Black Widow's sister.
The gang recruited attractive girls in shopping centres and universities with the promise of taking them to the US.
However, after the deaths of their new husbands, they were instead taken to Mexico where they were forced into prostitution.
Flores Acosta said of the accusations: "I declare myself innocent. I have never worked at home. I sell vehicles and I am a stylist."