Where Chaos Reigns:

Inside the

San Pedro Sula

Prison

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Honduras News

US Reverses Course in CentAm with Heavy-Handed 'Drug War' Approach

US Reverses Course in CentAm with Heavy-Handed 'Drug War' Approach

In a meeting held with the presidents of the Northern Triangle countries of Central America last week in Miami, the administration of US President Donald Trump reiterated that henceforth the focus of bilateral relations will be prioritizing heavy-handed approaches to the so-called "drug war" and illegal migration to the United States stemming from the region, with little significance being given to the allocation of development funds. 

Honduras Profile

Honduras

Honduras

One of the poorest countries in Latin America, Honduras is now also the region's most violent and crime-ridden country. This is, in part, due to its role as a strategically important transit nation for the transnational drug trade, as well as macroeconomic shifts, endemic poverty, corruption, and political turmoil. Estimates vary, but between 140 and 300 tons of cocaine are believed to pass through the country each year.

More Honduras News

  • The Unbearable Solitude of Honduras' Attorney General

    Honduras Attorney General Oscar Chinchilla

    Honduras Attorney General Oscar Chinchilla was elected by congress in September 2013, in a controversial process driven largely by the interests of the ruling National Party. But Chinchilla has altered the agenda and found himself between competing powers, leaving him on a political island.

  • In Targeting Powerful Drug Clan, Honduras Follows Familiar Script

    Honduras seizes properties from the Montes Bobadilla clan

    Authorities in Honduras have seized properties belonging to a major drug trafficking clan, a move that in the past has precipitated the downfall of some of the country's most powerful criminal organizations. 

  • Honduras Authorities Covered Up Police Sending Weapons to FARC: Report

    A commission is purging Honduras' police of corrupt officers

    An El Heraldo report revealed that top security officials have suppressed internal investigations into a police network that allegedly sold weapons to a Colombian guerrilla group in the early 2000s, yet another illustration of the institutionalized corruption within the force.  

  • US Congress Members Support CentAm Anti-Corruption Efforts

    The US Capitol Building

    Members of the US Congress have introduced a resolution supporting the anti-corruption efforts of several Central American governments, showing the legislative body's commitment to backing such initiatives even as they come under fire in the region.

  • Closing of Private School in Honduras Linked to Extortion

    Gangs target students and schools for extortion

    The temporary closing of a private school in Honduras may have been due to the imposition of what administrators are calling a "war tax," an illustration of how extortion negatively affects the daily life of so many in this Central American nation. 

  • Honduras Extraditions Expose Judicial System's Weak Links

    Honduras’ Attorney General Óscar Fernando Chinchilla

    Honduras' Attorney General's Office has helped capture some of the country's most powerful criminals and their assets, shaking the country's underworld, but the government's reliance on extradition raises questions about the long-term impact of these actions.

  • Report Reveals Intersection of Development Projects, Organized Crime in Honduras

    Land activists are more likely to be killed in Honduras than anywhere else in the world.

    A new report by the watchdog group Global Witness suggests that state institutions co-opted by business and political elites helped transform Honduras into the world's most dangerous place for environmental activists, highlighting how criminal networks can turn development projects into deadly illicit enterprises.

  • 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 economy bustles with everything from chicken stands to men who can build customized jail cells. Here you can find a party stocked with champagne and live music. But you can also find an inmate hacked to pieces. Those who guard these quarters are also those who get rich selling air-conditioned rooms, and those who pay the consequences if they get too greedy. That's how inmates live, on their own virtual island free from government interference, in the San Pedro Sula prison.

  • Honduras to Combat Police Impersonation with New Uniforms

    Police in Honduras are getting new uniforms to combat officer impersonation

    Security officials in Honduras announced that the National Police will adopt new uniforms designed to combat officer impersonation, a noteworthy step toward combating a longstanding problem.

  • Money Laundering Links Honduras, Panama and US

    Honduras' IHSS case may now have links to Panama and the US.

    Two Honduran executives allegedly used a Panamanian business and a US bank to pay $2.5 million in bribes, suggesting that banks based in Panama and the United States may be involved in one of the biggest corruption cases in Honduras.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.