Honduras police guard a seized Cachiros' property

Honduras authorities announced that 71 bank accounts confiscated from the Cachiros were found empty, a sign of how institutional corruption is likely to hamper moves against the well-connected drug trafficking organization.

Director of the Administrative Office of Seized Goods (OABI) Humberto Palacios Moya confirmed that the accounts had been emptied and moveable assets such as cars and machinery removed from properties before they were confiscated. Palacios said the apparent advance notice the group had of the operation against them suggests there was a leak from within the police, reported La Prensa.

Last month Honduran authorities, with strong assistance (and insistence) from US authorities, seized an estimated $800 million of property and assets from the Cachiros as part of "Operation Neptune." Police Chief Juan Carlos "El Tigre" Bonilla declaring authorities would "drain the water of the fish and then go after them." And US authorities made bold statements that this was just the beginning

However, no arrests have yet been made and, according to El Heraldo, a man renting one of the confiscated properties was warned a month in advance that authorities would reclaim the property.

InSight Crime Analysis

The ability of the Cachiros to infiltrate the operation against them comes as little surprise. The group is one of Honduras' most powerful and Honduran police suffer from endemic corruption. Bonilla himself has been tied to corruption and death squads

However, the police are also an easy scapegoat. The Cachiros are known to have connections in the upper reaches of Honduran society and politics, so there are powerful actors with a vested interest in their continued immunity, among them the owners of the banks, which represent some of the wealthiest Honduran elite.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

This is backed up by the fact that the leak was apparently made at least a month before the historic operation. The leak is even more troubling given the small circle with which the US Treasury, which helped oversee the investigation, is working. The evidence suggests it came from someone involved in, or connected to, those responsible for planning the operation.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Prev Next

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...

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

'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...

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...

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

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...

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 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...