Gangs

GameChangers 2016: Red Flags for 2017

GameChangers 2016: Red Flags for 2017

At the end of every year, InSight Crime looks into the crystal ball and predicts what the big criminal risks are likely to be during 2017. These are what we see as the threats facing the Americas in the coming year.

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  • GameChangers 2016: Red Flags for 2017

    2017 will see new mutations in organized crime and new challenges for governments

    At the end of every year, InSight Crime looks into the crystal ball and predicts what the big criminal risks are likely to be during 2017. These are what we see as the threats facing the Americas in the coming year.

  • El Salvador Govt Unlikely to Accept MS13 Dialogue Proposal

    El Salvador Vice President Oscar Ortiz

    Following the proposal by one of El Salvador's main gangs to start a dialogue with the government that could end in the group's dissolution, several political leaders have expressed resistance to the offer.

  • MS13 Seeks Dialogue with El Salvador Government

    Security forces in front of MS13 graffiti

    The MS13 has called for negotiations with the government, which could include the dismantling of the gang, implying a drastic change in posture since four years ago when the gang's national leadership refused to enter a dialogue about its possible dissolution.

  • GameChangers 2016: El Salvador's New (Ideology Free) Civil War

    El Salvador's gangs and security forces are locked in low-intensity warfare

    The already heated fight between El Salvador's gangs and security forces began to resemble a low-intensity conflict in 2016, as the MS13 and Barrio 18 increasingly aligned against a government bent on destroying them in a battle that seemed to have everything you would expect in war except an ideology. 

  • 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.

  • El Salvador Police Prepare to Take Their Own Revenge Against Gangs

    Police officers outside a funeral for a slain colleague

    The same day they buried the seventh police officer killed by gang members in November, the government announced a new response plan, "Nemesis," which means revenge. This plan stems from measures that have already been implemented and promises very little. However, before the government's new commitment, police have said they are taking their own measures; some of them have decided to flee, others have chosen to create cells across the country to kill gang members and their families. The authorities have denied this on camera and declare that it is "speculation."

  • Report Says El Salvador Gangs Have Created a Parallel State

    An MS13 graffiti being painted over by an official in El Salvador

    A new study argues that powerful street gangs have gone a long way toward creating a parallel state in El Salvador, providing a helpful framework to illustrate the extent to which the gangs impact society and undermine state governance.

  • The El Salvador Businessman Who Does Not Pay the Gangs

    Catalino Mirando, owner of Acostes bus company, poses with his 9 mm pistol in his office.

    El Salvador's main passenger transport entrepreneur dares to resist paying extortion to the country's gangs. Catalino Miranda already knows that the police and prosecution services will not solve the problem, and he has chosen to arm his company and hire former military personnel for security. Most transport entrepreneurs, buses and minibuses pay "aguinaldo" (extortion fees) to gangs, but Catalino refuses to do so even though it has cost, according to him, a couple of dozen of his employees.

  • The Bus Route That Institutionalized Extortion in El Salvador

    Extortion payments are deducted from some bus drivers' salaries

    In El Salvador, extortion demanded by gangs has become so normalized that there is a bus company that deducts the cost of extortion directly from drivers' payroll in order to make an annual payment to the Barrio 18. The drivers understand it: refusing to pay is equivalent to death and reporting the extortion, in a lawless state that has lost all territorial control, would do very little.

  • 'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

    Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well as in parts of Maryland and Virginia, all host to tens of thousands of Central American immigrants. In early 2016, he participated in the investigation, which led to the sentencing of half a dozen MS13 members from the "Sailors Loco" clique in Virginia. Among the charges for sentencing were eight counts of homicide. Currently on the verge of retirement, LeValley believes that the Salvadoran gang has entered a new expansion phase along the East Coast of the United States.