Four of the men killed so far

Reported infighting within Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel in Honduras has added to the bloodshed in San Pedro Sula, providing a grim demonstration of the group's notable presence in this Central American nation's second-largest city.

The most recent killing -- on May 26 -- reads like something from a Hollywood movie: two police uniform-clad assassins hunted down and killed their target in a supermarket, following a midday car chase through the streets of the city. Two innocent bystanders also died in the attack.

The dead Honduran man, Dennys Roberto Bonilla Guzman, reportedly helped rob a Sinaloa Cartel stash house alongside Mexican father and son Juan Jose Lopez and Adolfo Leon Lopez, who were gunned down together less than a week earlier. A police raid on Bonilla's residence uncovered heavy weapons, drugs and $680,000.

The three men were reportedly close associates of Nelson Molina, a Guatemalan man described by La Prensa as the second-in-command of the criminal group, who was murdered in his home on April 29. Following Molina's death, the three apparently decided to make off with the money, prompting other cartel operatives to go after them.

Altogether, ten people -- among them Mexicans, Hondurans, a Guatemalan and a Venezuelan -- have been killed as a result of recent cartel infighting, reported La Prensa. 

According to La Prensa, authorities said the fighting may be tied to the recent capture and extradition of Honduran narco Carlos "El Negro" Lobo, who the US government says was a key cocaine provider to the Sinaloa Cartel.  

InSight Crime Analysis

In normal circumstances, this carnage may not have raised many eyebrows in a city with a reported homicide rate of 187 per 100,000 people. However, the idea it is linked to an internal dispute within the Sinaloa Cartel is notable.

Sources close to InSight Crime have suggested San Pedro Sula is second only to Sinaloa state capital Culiacan in Mexico among urban centers critical to the group's activities.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Honduras is a key transit country for drug shipments heading to the United States via Mexico, and San Pedro Sula, as a major center of drug and gang violence and home to a corrupt and overburdened security apparatus, is an ideal staging ground for cartel activity.

While La Prensa indicates the recent killings are the product of factional violence follwing the capture of a crime boss, InSight Crime sources have suggested the most significant Sinaloa Cartel operative in Honduras is still active in the city. It remains to be seen whether this leader can restore order, or whether these ten deaths will be the first of many.

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...

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...

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...