News Analysis

Former Tijuana Cartel Hitman's Memoir Keeps Crime Group in the Background

Former Tijuana Cartel Hitman's Memoir Keeps Crime Group in the Background

In "Confessions of a Cartel Hit Man," former Tijuana Cartel enforcer Martin Corona traces his rise through the ranks of the hegemonic crime group during the 1990s, but includes surprisingly few revelations about the organization itself.

News Briefs

New US Sanctions Hit Top Venezuela Officials With Criminal Ties

New US Sanctions Hit Top Venezuela Officials With Criminal Ties

The latest round of sanctions by the United States against high-ranking Venezuelan officials claim to punish human rights abuses, but...

Jamaica to Initiate Security Crackdown as Murders Surge

Jamaica to Initiate Security Crackdown as Murders Surge

Jamaica has passed a law allowing the army and police to launch special operations in crime hotspots following a spike...

DEA Agents Posed as FARC to Net International Arms Trafficker

DEA Agents Posed as FARC to Net International Arms Trafficker

A man from the Ivory Coast has pleaded guilty in a US court to offering support to undercover DEA agents...

Increasing Mexico Nightclub Attacks Show Crime Groups' Brazenness

Increasing Mexico Nightclub Attacks Show Crime Groups' Brazenness

Attacks on Mexico's nightclubs are on the rise, suggesting criminal groups are becoming increasingly willing to use public violence, and...

Too Little Too Late? Bolivia, Brazil to Boost Efforts Against Criminal Migration

Too Little Too Late? Bolivia, Brazil to Boost Efforts Against Criminal Migration

Authorities in Bolivia and Brazil will enter into a bilateral agreement later this month aimed at combating the expansion of...

Peru Anti-Crime Operations Show Drug Trade's Resilience in VRAEM

Peru Anti-Crime Operations Show Drug Trade's Resilience in VRAEM

A large cocaine seizure in a dismantled clandestine lab and repeated ambushes against security forces point to persistent criminal activity...

Investigations

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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...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy. Unlike their paramilitary and drug cartel predecessors, the BACRIM maintain a diversified...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

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...

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...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power. In rural sectors, uniformed BACRIM armed with assault rifles still patrol in...

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...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

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...