Guatemala News

Guatemala Drug Thief Holds on to His (Stolen) Assets

Guatemala Drug Thief Holds on to His (Stolen) Assets

More than four months after capturing top drug trafficker Jairo Orellana Morales, Guatemala still hasn't been able to seize his property, an indication of the challenges that the authorities face when attempting to confiscate criminals' assets. Read More

Guatemala Profile

Guatemala

Guatemala

Guatemala's criminal organizations are among the most sophisticated and dangerous in Central America. Some of them have been in operation for decades. They include former members of the military, intelligence agencies and active members of the police. Transporting illegal drugs north comprises the bulk of their activity, but organized crime in Guatemala is also involved in marijuana and poppy cultivation, as well as human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, money laundering, arms smuggling, adoption rings, eco trafficking and other illegal enterprises. They often work with groups from Mexico, Colombia and other Central American nations and they have the potential to expand and command other Central American nations' underworlds.

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Guatemala Personalities

More Guatemala News

  • Guatemala Drug Thief Holds on to His (Stolen) Assets

    An Orellana property seized in Honduras

    More than four months after capturing top drug trafficker Jairo Orellana Morales, Guatemala still hasn't been able to seize his property, an indication of the challenges that the authorities face when attempting to confiscate criminals' assets.

  • Guatemala Hands Over Another Narco Leader to US

    A high-ranking member of a powerful criminal organization in Guatemala has become the latest drug trafficker from this Central American country to be extradited to the United States, in what appears to be a growing trend. 

  • Informants Shed Light on Structure of MS13 in Guatemala

    Former MS13 members in Guatemala have provided a breakdown of the rankings and pay scales within the gang's hierarchy, which serve as another indication of this organization's increasingly sophisticated structure. 

  • Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

    As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions of dollars in public money, much of which is siphoned for individual and political use, and the ability to pillage it with impunity.

  • The 'Tennis Shoe King' Who Became Guatemala's Gentleman Lobbyist

    Guatemala lobbyist Roberto Lopez Villatoro

    As Guatemala gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story explores the role of Roberto Lopez Villatoro, a.k.a. "The Tennis Shoe King," a businessman and lawyer who has become one of the most influential figures in these selection processes.

  • Phone Calls Illustrate Power of Guatemalan Ex-Army Officer

    As the trial begins of a Guatemalan ex-military officer accused of running a bribery ring from prison, where he is serving a sentence for a high-profile murder, phone recordings presented as evidence provide an inside look at how the scheme played out.

  • Mapping MS13, Barrio 18 Territory in Guatemala City

    Officials in Guatemala have identified the areas of the capital controlled by the MS13 and Barrio 18 gangs, illustrating the degree of gang infiltration in the city with the third highest homicide rate in the world.

  • Why Did the US Release One of Guatemala's Biggest Drug Traffickers?

    Records show that the United States quietly released Guatemala kingpin Otto Herrera nearly a year ago, hinting at the possibility that the cocaine trafficker has struck a deal with authorities.  

  • Guatemala's Most Violent vs. Most Peaceful Place

    A UN report puts Guatemala among the top five most violent countries in the world, with 40.6 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants. It's difficult, in this country, to imagine a life without death. However, in the world's fifth-most violent place – it's strange, but true – there are places without homicides, with just one murder in a decade. And there's others where death is overflowing. You just need to spend a few hours on a highway to see these contrasts – from Sibinal, San Marcos, to Puerto Barrios, in Izabal, for example.

  • 'Bishop's Killer Ran Prison Bribery Ring in Guatemala'

    The former army captain convicted of killing Bishop Juan Gerardi ran a massive bribery ring from prison, according to an investigation by Guatemala's anti-impunity commission.