News Analysis

El Salvador Reworks Asset Forfeiture Law in Favor of Corruption Defendants

El Salvador Reworks Asset Forfeiture Law in Favor of Corruption Defendants

In a full legislative plenary session, El Salvador's political parties demonstrated their ability to twist regulations intended to fight crime and shield the assets of those suspected to have obtained them illegally. Among those who voted are officials with personal motivations for reforming the asset forfeiture law.

News Briefs

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...

Colombia Begins Giving Demobilized FARC Access to Banking System

Colombia Begins Giving Demobilized FARC Access to Banking System

The government of Colombia has begun bringing demobilizing FARC guerrillas into the formal banking system, but international sanctions on FARC...

Investigations

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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...

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...

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...

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.

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...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

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 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...

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...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs.