US radar technology

US officials announced they have suspended the sharing of radar intelligence with Honduras following the unilateral decision by the Honduran Air Force to shoot down two suspected drug flights. The announcement further destabilizes the already shaky US-Honduras counter-narcotics assistance program.

The radar technology had been in place since May as part of the US-led "Operation Anvil." However, the US decided to suspend sharing radar intelligence August 18, according to La Prensa, following the downing of two suspected drug flights by the Honduran Air Force in July. The confusing incident led to the removal of the head of the Honduran Air Force.

The US has stated that it is willing to restore the radar system but only once it has carried out a full review that will establish strict guidelines to ensure no such unilateral actions take place in the future. Ramon Custodio, the head of Honduras' human rights commission (known by its acronym CONADEH), said in response to the withdrawal of the radar that the country is now, "open skies for drug trafficking."

InSight Crime Analysis

Honduras is one of the primary transit points for cocaine traversing Central America. The State Department estimates 79 percent of drug flights pass through the country.

The US' concern, however, has not translated into a stable relationship with the Honduran government. Last month, US officials announced that police aid would be suspended to units under the command of the country's police chief due to claims he ran death squads in the 2000s.

Hondurans are also not happy, especially with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which has employed special teams to some of the more drug-ridden areas. In May, the DEA was involved in the killing of four suspected drug traffickers in the northeastern Gracias a Dios province, one of whom was a woman who was allegedly pregnant. 

Still, the US is keen to continue with special operations and counter-narcotics activities in Honduras, InSight Crime has learned, and will likely proceed with greater caution going forward.

Investigations

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

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...

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...

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...

'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...

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...

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...