News Analysis

Weekly InSight: The Dominican Republic, the Caribbean's Cocaine Bridge

Weekly InSight: The Dominican Republic, the Caribbean's Cocaine Bridge

In our April 27 Facebook Live session, Co-director Jeremy McDermott spoke with Senior Editor Mike LaSusa about InSight Crime's research and reporting on the Dominican Republic's growing role in the global drug trade.

News Briefs

Arrests Suggest Brazilian Gangs Are Deepening Presence in Bolivia

Arrests Suggest Brazilian Gangs Are Deepening Presence in Bolivia

Recent actions carried out in Bolivia by Brazil's two most powerful prison gangs indicate these groups are looking to deepen...

Planned Cuts to US Foreign Aid Could Harm Security in LatAm

Planned Cuts to US Foreign Aid Could Harm Security in LatAm

The United States is planning massive cuts to foreign aid that could potentially have a negative impact on efforts to...

Mapping of Colombia Homicide Data Reflects Regional Dynamics

Mapping of Colombia Homicide Data Reflects Regional Dynamics

A new report by a leading Colombian think tank maps the concentration of homicides in the country's largest cities, highlighting...

El Salvador Self-Defense Group Poses Potential Security Concerns

El Salvador Self-Defense Group Poses Potential Security Concerns

A self-defense group operating in a rural community of El Salvador is asking for formal legal recognition, a reminder of security...

Former Pablo Escobar Associate Killed in Medellín, Colombia

Former Pablo Escobar Associate Killed in Medellín, Colombia

A former associate of Pablo Escobar was killed in Colombia's second-largest city, leading to speculation that he continued to traffic...

Commando-Style Heist Plunges Paraguay Border Town into Chaos

Commando-Style Heist Plunges Paraguay Border Town into Chaos

Paraguay's Ciudad del Este witnessed scenes reminiscent of war as several dozen heavily armed men undertook a sophisticated and lethal...

Investigations

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'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...