Impunity in the Northern Triangle

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against former Guatemalan officials, but the multiple schemes connected to him represent the apex of the Guatemalan state's spiral towards a mafia state, and the complicated and perhaps ongoing relationship between him and the international community.

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Elites and Organized Crime

Guatemala Judge Flees Country Fearing Own Judiciary Colleague

Guatemala Judge Flees Country Fearing Own Judiciary Colleague

A Supreme Court magistrate in Guatemala has allegedly pressured a judge handling her son's case, leading the latter official to leave the country in an affair symbolic of Guatemala's ongoing struggle against corruption and elite interference with anti-corruption efforts.

More Elites and Organized Crime News

  • Guatemala Judge Flees Country Fearing Own Judiciary Colleague

    Supreme Court magistrate Blanca Stalling

    A Supreme Court magistrate in Guatemala has allegedly pressured a judge handling her son's case, leading the latter official to leave the country in an affair symbolic of Guatemala's ongoing struggle against corruption and elite interference with anti-corruption efforts.

  • Haiti Senator-Elect Pleads Not Guilty to US Drug Charges

    Guy Philippe during his first appearance before a US judge

    Former Haitian rebel leader and Senator-elect Guy Philippe pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges presented today in a Miami court, a case that seems to be a message to other political elites in Haiti suspected of criminal activities. 

  • New Venezuela VP Is Latest Top Official Linked to Drug Trade

    Newly appointed Vice President Tareck El Aissami

    The newly appointed vice president of Venezuela has reportedly been investigated by the United States for involvement in the drug trade, making him the most recent official with suspected criminal ties to take a top position in the Venezuelan government.

  • 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.

  • GameChangers 2016: Elites, Organized Crime and Political Firestorms

    President Dilma Rousseff was removed from obvious amid a widening corruption scandal

    Welcome to InSight Crime's GameChangers 2016, where we highlight the most important trends in organized crime in the Americas. This year we put a spotlight on crime and corruption among the region's political elites, while reporting on government struggles to corral criminality fueled by street gangs, drug cartels and Marxist rebels alike.

  • Brazil Construction Giant Admits to Massive Bribe Scheme

    Odebrecht office building

    Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht and its affiliate Braskem agreed to pay $3.5 billion in fines after pleading guilty to bribery charges, revealing the magnitude of the international scheme as well as the United States' growing involvement in prosecuting international corruption.

  • Guatemala Ex-President and VP Still Wield Power From Jail: Report

    Former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti, and former President Otto Pérez Molina

    A recent report has suggested that Guatemala's incarcerated former president and vice president continue to wield power from behind bars over a year after their fall from grace, casting fresh doubt on whether this monumental case has achieved any lasting successes against impunity.

  • Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

    Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against former Guatemalan officials, but the multiple schemes connected to him represent the apex of the Guatemalan state's spiral towards a mafia state, and the complicated and perhaps ongoing relationship between him and the international community.

  • 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 not mention that he amassed a fortune of $60 million, all the while escaping the justice system.

  • In About-Face, El Salvador Govt Reopens 'Chepe Diablo' Case

    José Adán Salazar Umaña, alias Chepe Diablo

    When Luis Martínez was the Attorney General in 2015, he ordered his subordinates to shelve the money laundering investigation against businessman José Adán Salazar Umaña. Now, with Martínez out and facing accusations of corruption, the Attorney General’s Office has reactivated the case against Salazar Umaña, alias "Chepe Diablo," and members of his so-called Texis Cartel, and it has officially requested information from the United States and various countries of Central America through diplomatic channels.