Where Chaos Reigns:

Inside the

San Pedro Sula

Prison

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Honduras News

Latin America Again Ranks as World's Least Secure Region: Report

Latin America Again Ranks as World's Least Secure Region: Report

For the eighth year in a row, an annual report from the Gallup polling organization has ranked Latin America as the least secure region in the world, underscoring the persistence of regional security challenges and the ways in which crime and insecurity impact citizens' daily lives.

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

  • 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.

  • Honduras Extends Police Reform Commission until 2018

    Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández

    The president of Honduras has announced that a reform commission designed to purge the country's police forces will continue its work until 2018, a move that could strengthen his bid for re-election.

  • New Allegations Highlight Continuing Corruption in Honduras Police

    One of the police officers arrested as a result of the recent investigation

    Authorities in Honduras have dismantled several networks of allegedly corrupt law enforcement officers, a positive sign for the country's efforts to purge its police institution but also a reminder of the depth and breadth of corruption in the force.

  • InSight Crime's 2016 Homicide Round-up

    InSight Crime's round-up of Latin America and the Caribbean's 2016 homicide rates

    Politicians often make lofty promises about reducing homicides and improving citizen security, but which Latin American and Caribbean countries actually achieved this over the past year? Find out in our annual homicide report. 

  • GameChangers 2016: Sunset of the Central American Spring

    Former Guatemala president Otto Pérez Molina in custody

    As the year closed, the successes and failures of the fight against corruption, impunity and organized crime in the Northern Triangle combine to leave a bitter-sweet taste.

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: 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...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network. The BACRIM's roots lie in the demobilized paramilitary umbrella group the United Self-Defense...

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: 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. 

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...

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...

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...