InSight Crime
is about to launch a new website.
We won’t be publishing new content for the next few days.
Honduran tycoon Miguel Facusse

A human rights lawyer gunned down in Honduras this weekend had reportedly declared that if he were killed, notorious business tycoon Miguel Facusse, one of the main drivers of the Bajo Aguan land conflict, would be the one behind it.

In the morning of September 23, Antonio Trejo Cabrera was gunned down by unknown assailants after attending a wedding in Tegucigalpa. He had been a legal representative for farmers in disputes with large landowners in the Bajo Aguan region, northern Honduras. A violent land conflict raging there has claimed at least 60 lives in the last two years, most of them farmers.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Trejo had publicly declared that Miguel Facusse, a billionaire landowner involved in the land conflict, would be the one to blame if he were murdered. The lawyer had reported death threats since June 2011, and the AP obtained a copy of a text message received by Trejo that stated: “You have 48 hours to get out or you’re dead.”

Facusse has denied any involvement in the killing.

The United States announced that it will support the investigation into Trejo’s murder.

InSight Crime Analysis

Facusse, a supporter of the 2009 coup, is one of Honduras' most powerful and controversial characters. Earlier this year, Reporters Without Borders named him as the biggest threat to press freedom in the country, with the NGO claiming he oversees his own private militia which “can count on support from the police and army to impose his will.”

In addition, according to a US State Department cable released by WikiLeaks, a Facusse property was the alleged landing site for a plane carrying 1 ton of cocaine in 2004, the third such incident on the property in a little over a year. As academic Dana Frank has pointed out, despite concerns over Facusse’s potential ties to drug trafficking, US Embassy staff have met with the businessman on more than one occasion. There are currently no charges against him in the United States.

Facusse holds enormous political and economic power in Honduras. If he was indeed behind Trejo’s murder, obtaining a conviction against him may prove extremely difficult, even with support from the United States.

Investigations

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

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.