Suspects in land theft gang 'Los Sanguinarios'

Peruvian authorities have arrested 16 suspects who allegedly worked for a criminal gang dedicated to forced displacement and land theft outside Lima, highlighting a crime that is a growing concern in Peru and parallelling problems in other parts of Latin America.

According to authorities, the people arrested formed part of the band "Los Sanguinarios de Pachacamac" and worked for a civil construction company. They were allegedly contracted by land traffickers to forcibly seize land from residents of two settlements in Pachacamac, to the south of the country's capital, which they then resold with false documentation, reported El Popular.

National police arrested the suspects in the settlements Las Mercedes and Las Casuarinas, where they also found revolvers, ammunition, five vehicles, 10 cellular phones and over 130 packages of drugs, reported La Republica.

The suspects will be tried for aggravated theft, crimes against public safety, drug trafficking, and on weapons charges.

InSight Crime Analysis

This case is not an isolated event in Peru. A July 2012 police report stated that members of civil construction companies in the Piura and Castilla regions were similarly engaged in land trafficking. Last August, the Lima city government proposed the creation of a special police unit to combat land trafficking, while invasion and trafficking of land in protected areas has also been an ongoing concern.

Land conflicts and forced displacement are rife in other parts of Latin America as well, especially Colombia, which has the highest internally displaced population in the world. The now demobilized paramilitary army the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) was notorious for displacing the population then using or selling their land for agro-industrial or extractive projects, a practice that is continued today by the narco-paramilitary groups that succeded them. The government is currently struggling to implement an ambitious land restitution program, which has faced serious logistical issues and fierce opposition from the remnants of the AUC and their successors.

Investigations

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

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Like any arm of the justice system, the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG) had its battles with elites who used their charm and their muscle to try to influence what and who the celebrated commission...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala is Central America’s most populous country and its largest economy. But an intransigent elite, an ambitious military and a weak state has opened the way for organized crime to flourish, especially since the return of democracy.

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Organized crime is not an abstract concept for me. I grew up in Oak Park, a leafy suburb of Chicago with a population of about 60,000. In general, it was a very low crime city, which is perhaps why many mobsters made their homes there, among them...

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

By the end of 1993, Pablo Escobar was cornered. The cocaine king -- known as "El Patrón" -- was running out of money and options. His top assassins were either dead or had turned themselves in. Almost all of the senior members of the Medellín Cartel were...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

As it tends to happen in Honduras, the news began as a well-heeled rumor: Javier Rivera Maradiaga, the oldest of the three Rivera Maradiaga brothers still alive and leader of the feared and powerful Honduran drug trafficking group known as the Cachiros, had handed himself in to...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

In the northwest corner of Guatemala, a little known criminal organization known as the "Huistas" dominates the underworld, in large part due its ties with businessmen, law enforcement officials and politicians.

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Rodrigo Tovar Pupo never imagined it would come to this: dressed in an orange jumpsuit in a Washington DC courtroom and standing in front of a United States federal judge, the grandson of a wealthy Colombian cattle rancher and nephew to a governor was facing a possible...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

On the morning of April 5, 1988, Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros left his palatial Tegucigalpa estate for a jog. Matta Ballesteros was wanted for murder, drug trafficking and other crimes in several countries, but in Honduras he felt safe. He regularly hosted parties for high-level officials at...

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

This project defines organized crime as: a structured group of people that associate on a regular and prolonged basis to benefit from illicit activities and illegal markets. This group can be local, national or transnational in nature, and its existence is maintained using violence and threats; corruption...