Gangs

El Salvador Defense Minister Played Key Role in Gang Truce: AG

El Salvador Defense Minister Played Key Role in Gang Truce: AG

A minister in El Salvador has been implicated in a controversial and now defunct gang truce, in a move that may be meant to discredit the ceasefire and officials involved in it.

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  • El Salvador Defense Minister Played Key Role in Gang Truce: AG

    El Salvador's Defense Minister David Munguía Payés

    A minister in El Salvador has been implicated in a controversial and now defunct gang truce, in a move that may be meant to discredit the ceasefire and officials involved in it.

  • US Anti-Gang Operation Shows Complexity of Criminal Landscape

    A recent US anti-gang operation led to more than 1,300 arrests

    A six-week anti-gang operation headed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led to more than 1,300 arrests nationwide. But a breakdown of suspects' alleged affiliations suggests that recent rhetoric may not match reality when it comes to the threat of Latin America-linked gangs in the United States, particularly the MS13.

  • Top Guatemala Prison Official Filmed Negotiating with Gangs: Report

    A security officer asking Barrio 18 leaders to open the prison gates

    A recently published video appears to show the head of Guatemala's penitentiary system negotiating with gang leaders in a maximum-security prison, a stark reminder of how much authority the state has ceded to criminals behind bars.

  • Proposed Anti-Gang Law in Guatemala Another Flawed 'Iron Fist' Policy?

    Members of the MS13 street gang in a prison in El Salvador.

    Legislators in Guatemala have proposed a new bill aimed at attacking the country's gangs by increasing fines and prison sentences for gang members. But how the draft law will be implemented and how effective it will be remains unclear.

  • Tensions Rise over Dissident MS13 Faction in El Salvador

    MS13 graffiti

    A breakaway faction of El Salvador's MS13 gang has reportedly been the source of increasing conflict, underlining how gang rivalries and violence can contribute to cycles of retaliation.

  • Weekly InSight: Debunking the Trump Administration's Alternative Facts about MS13

    US President Donald Trump

    In our April 20 Facebook Live session, Co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Senior Investigator Héctor Silva Ávalos about the recent rhetorical offensive launched against the MS13 by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

  • 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. 

  • 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, Zacapa, and Chiquimula. The northern department of Petén, which encompasses nearly a third of the country's land mass, also routinely has some of the highest homicide rates.[1]

  • 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 of these forms go into paper files. Others go into computer files. Some of them are summarized and sent to headquarters. Others remain at precinct or even sub-precinct level. As will become evident, much of it is quickly buried amidst a pile of papers that will literally fade with time, or within a computer file, which will most likely be erased or lost by the next person who has that job.

  • 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 related to one. There is nothing scientific about olfato, yet it seems as if that is the guiding measure as it relates to determining this crucial question: What is behind the steady stream of homicides in Central America, or in this case, Guatemala?