An attack by extortionists on a Tegucigalpa bus

Honduran criminal gangs including the Barrio 18 have reportedly imposed a curfew on residents in certain sectors of the country's capital, illustrating the authorities' failure to provide security.

Residents of several neighborhoods in west Tegucigalpa have complained that the Barrio 18 gang, and emerging local gang the Chirizos, are forcing residents to stay off the streets from the early evening, reported La Prensa.

"At 7 p.m. we want to see these businesses closed and the people in their homes," stated announcements posted around the area. Stores, transport, and even churches have been forced to shut down early because of the threats, according to reports.

Police spokesperson Hector Ivan Mejia said that the police had not received complaints from residents regarding the curfew, though he admitted that this could be because locals were afraid to speak out.

Residents said that two police stations formerly located in the area had been closed for years, reported El Heraldo.

InSight Crime Analysis

Barrio 18 is one of the largest street gangs in Latin America, with operations stretching as far as Canada, and often controls operations like extortion, drug dealing, and contract killings in areas under its territory. It is currently reported to be battling the Chirizos for control of extortion rackets in west Tegucigalpa.

In Honduras, high government debt has led to a decline in state services, with the authorities even being forced to turn off security cameras in Tegucigalpa in late January because it was unable to pay the company that runs them. Given this situation, the ability of street gangs to control city neighborhoods is not surprising.

In 2012, Honduras saw its highest number of homicides on record, with over 7,000 killings. There are many factors behind Honduras' deteriorating security situation, including the presence of gangs like Barrio 18, the country's increasing importance as a transit point in the international drug trade, weak institutions, endemic corruption and lax gun control laws.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.