InSight Crime

  • The Team

    Steven Dudley, co-director and co-founder, head of research for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean: Dudley is a senior fellow at American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies in Washington DC. He is the former Bureau Chief of The Miami Herald in the Andean Region and the author of "Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia" (Routledge 2004). Dudley has also reported from Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba and Miami for National Public Radio and The Washington Post, among others. Dudley has a BA in Latin American History from Cornell University and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2007, and is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. In 2012 to 2013, he was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Contact.

    Jeremy McDermott is the co-director and co-founder of InSight Crime.  He also handles coverage of Panama and South America and manages the team, which is based primarily in Medellin, Colombia. McDermott has two decades of experience reporting from around Latin America. He is a former British Army officer, who saw active service in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. Upon retiring from the military he became a war correspondent, covering the Balkans, based in Bosnia, then the Middle East from Beirut, before being sent to Colombia to cover the conflict.  He has traveled extensively throughout Latin America. Before setting up InSight Crime he worked for many of Britain’s most prestigious media outlets, including the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and The Economist. He specializes in drug trafficking, organized crime and the Colombian civil conflict. He has an MA from the University of Edinburgh. Contact.

    Maria Elena Ortegon, Chief Operating Officer: Ortegon has a degree in Business Administration (2006) and Public Accounting (2008), as well as a specialization in Business Law from the Universidad Externado de Colombia (2009). She worked as a manager in the hotel and real estate sector for seven years. She has worked for InSight Crime since March 2014. Contact.

    Deborah Bonello, Project Leader: Bonello is a British multi-media journalist based in Mexico City with more than 20 years of journalist experience. After graduating from Bristol University (1998) with a BSc in Sociology, she worked as a print business journalist in London for ten years before moving to Latin America. She has been in Mexico since 2007, and before joining InSight Crime worked for a variety of prestigious outlets including the BBC, the Economist, the Los Angeles Times and the Financial Times, filing in video and print on many subjects but predominantly the violence, culture and consequences related to organized crime in Mexico and Central America.

    Felipe Puerta, Chief Editor, Spanish: Puerta is a graduate of Universidad EAFIT in Medellín (2014) where he studied Economics. He has worked for Insight Crime since June 2013. Contact.

    David Gagne, Senior Editor/Writer/Researcher: Gagne is a graduate of Elon University (2013), where he received a degree in International Studies with concentrations in African and Latin American Studies. He has worked for InSight Crime since October 2014.

    Mike LaSusa, Senior Editor/Writer/Researcher: LaSusa has a BA from the University of Miami (2013), where he studied journalism and international studies, and an MA in US foreign policy and national security from the American University School of International Service (2016). He has worked with InSight Crime since October 2015.

    Hector Silva, Contributing Writer/Researcher: Silva is a fellow at the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University in Washington D.C., and author of the book "The Infiltrators," published by Central American University Jose Simeon Cañas in 2014. Before working at CLALS, he was the head of investigations at newspaper La Prensa Grafica in El Salvador and a diplomat in Washington DC.

    Diana Alvarez, Administrative Assistant: Alvarez graduated in 2008 with a degree in Tourism Management. She has seven years of working experience in the real estate and hotel industry in Colombia. She has worked for InSight Crime since March 2015.

    Diego Garcia, Translator: García is a graduate of the University of Antioquia (1996), where he received a degree in English and Spanish Education, as well as an MA in Colombian Literature (2002). He earned an ABD degree in Romance Languages and Literatures (2006) from University of Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been an independent editor and translator for several years and has been working for InSight Crime since January 2015. 

    James Bargent, Contributing Writer: Bargent is a journalist who has worked for InSight Crime since 2012. More samples of his work can be seen here.

    Patrick Corcoran, Contributing Writer: Corcoran is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and received an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has worked for InSight Crime since 2011. Contact.

    Michael Lohmuller, Editor/Writer/Researcher: Lohmuller is a graduate of Boston College (2010) and has an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University (2014). He was previously a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala.

    Board of Directors

    Eric Hershberg, Director CLALS: Hershberg is Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and Professor of Government at American University. From 2007-2009 he was Professor of Political Science and Director of Latin American Studies at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has taught at New York University, Southern Illinois University, Columbia, Princeton and the New School. Prior to arriving at SFU he served for fifteen years as a Program Director at the Social Science Research Council in New York City.

    His research focuses on the comparative politics of Latin America, and on the politics of development. Current research projects analyze the state of democracy in South America, social sector reforms in the Andean region and conflicts over accountability for human rights abuses under military regimes in the Southern Cone countries. He has served as a consultant to numerous development and educational agencies, including the Ford Foundation, the World Bank and the Swedish International Development Agency.


    PhD, Political Science University of Wisconsin-Madison

    MA, Political Science University of Wisconsin-Madison

    BA Spanish and French, Indiana University

    Alejandro Hope, Director of Security, IMCO: Hope is the Director of Security at the Instituto Mexicano para La Competitividad (IMCO). Prior to his current position, Hope served various management positions at the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN) between 2008 and 2011. Between 2001 and 2008, he worked as a consulting partner at Group of Economists and Associates (GEA), a consulting firm specializing in economic and political analysis. He has a degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Ph.D. candidate in the same subject.

    Arlene Tickner, Universidad de los Andes: Arlene Tickner is a professor of International Relations at the Political Science Department of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, where she has worked since 1991. Her research focuses on Colombian foreign relations, US-Colombia relations, hemispheric and Andean security, and the sociology of knowledge in the field of International Relations. She a columnist at Colombian newspaper El Espectador and a regular panelist on Caracol Radio's political analysis show, "Hora 20."


    PhD, International Relations, University of Miami, 2000

    MA, Latin American Studies, Georgetown University, 1990

    BA, Middlebury College, Mathematics and Spanish, 1986

    Strategic Partner

    American University | The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies

    The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University in Washington, DC, engages scholars and practitioners to promote cutting-edge research to enrich understanding of Latin America and of Latino communities in the U.S.

    Research: Creating and disseminating knowledge is at the core of the Center’s scholarly and institutional agenda. CLALS supports collaborative research projects organized around five thematic clusters: development & inequality; democracy & justice; cultures creativity; environment society; and hemispheric relations.

    Training: CLALS is committed to advancing American University's primary goal of ensuring the highest quality training for our students, offering extensive coursework in Latin American and Latino Studies and specific degree and certificate programs around these topics.

    Partnerships: In designing and implementing projects, CLALS establishes dynamic partnerships with academic institutions, think tanks, non-governmental and community organizations, and governmental and international agencies throughout the United States and Latin America. Center projects are supported through funding from extramural donors and agencies as well as by University resources.

    Learn more about CLALS here.

    Major Funders

    Open Society Foundations

    The Open Society Foundations work to reinforce human rights and democratic governance in Latin America and the Caribbean. Activities focus on addressing violence and state responses to organized crime, promoting transparency, and ensuring international support for open society goals.

    Learn more about OSF here.

    International Development Research Centre

    Located in Montevideo, Uruguay, IDRC’s regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean coordinates our activities in 33 countries. 

    Our programming reflects the diverse needs of Mesoamerica, the Caribbean, and South America. Three core goals underlie our work in the region:

    • upholding democracy, human rights, and accountable government
    •  reducing vulnerability to disease, natural disasters, and degrading natural resources
    •  increasing opportunities for equitable economic growth and access to social safety nets and services

    A number of countries in the Americas are emerging from prolonged internal conflict or civil war. IDRC’s support in the region recognizes that research is needed to expand the range of practical solutions to enduring problems, to encourage innovation, and to promote long-term growth in the region.

    Learn more about IDRC here.

    Management Sponsor.

  • About Us

    Steve and Jerry

    InSight Crime is a foundation dedicated to the study of the principal threat to national and citizen security in Latin America and the Caribbean: organized crime.

    We seek to deepen and inform the debate about organized crime in the Americas by providing the general public with regular reporting, analysis and investigation on the subject and on state efforts to combat it.

    We fulfill this mission by:

    • providing high quality and timely analysis of news events linked to organized crime in the region;
    • investigating and writing reports on organized crime and its multiple manifestations, including its impact on human rights, governance, drug policy and other social, economic and political issues;
    • giving workshops to journalists, academics and non-governmental organizations on how to cover this important issue and keep themselves, their sources and their material safe;
    • supporting local investigators through these workshops and by publishing, translating and promoting their work to reach the widest possible audience;
    • developing a region-wide network of investigators looking at organized crime;
    • presenting in public and closed-door sessions to governments, non-governmental organizations, academics and stakeholders on best practices, strategies and pitfalls in implementing citizen security policy on the ground.



    InSight Crime was started in April 2010 by two journalists, Jeremy McDermott and Steven Dudley (meet the InSight Crime team), with funding from the Open Society Foundations. The mission of the organization was to fill a hole created by falling coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean, as foreign media organizations closed down their bureaus, and national media and local NGOs cut back on field research.

    The main team established itself in Medellin, Colombia, the historic heart of the cocaine industry. In August 2010, American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) in Washington DC became a sponsor. CLALS set up the project office in Washington, and has provided infrastructure and a place where InSight Crime can interact with the leading academics on this issue.

    InSight Crime launched on December 1, 2010, with profiles on groups, personalities, and security initiatives in Mexico and Colombia. Since then we have greatly expanded the number of countries where we provide regular coverage of events and do field research. Today, there is hardly a nation in the region where we have not worked.

    In February 2012, the organization legally and formally constituted the InSight Crime Foundation, an independent, non-profit research institution with headquarters in Medellin, Colombia. It currently has offices in Medellin, Colombia, and at American University in Washington DC.

    In September 2012, the foundation launched a Spanish language site. Today these two websites form the largest and most comprehensive database on organized crime in the Americas, with more articles being added every day.

    Consulting, Training, and More

    The two websites are just one aspect of the work of Foundation InSight Crime. Others include:

    • Reports - We produce regular reports for multilaterals, governments, academic institutions and non-governmental clients on criminal dynamics and citizen security issues. Most of these are based on extensive field research. Learn more about reports here.
    • Trainings - InSight Crime trains journalists and non-governmental organizations on how to investigate organized crime and corruption, and how to minimize risks to themselves and their organizations in the process. Learn more about trainings here.
    • Assessments - InSight Crime assesses citizen security projects throughout the region, with a special emphasis on discovering what works and what does not in regard to efforts to combat organized crime. Learn more about assessments here.


    See more on what we do.

    Research Internships

    InSight Crime offers unpaid research internships three times a year: during the Spring semester, during the Summer, and during the Fall semester. Applicants are expected to demonstrate an interest and familiarity with the subject matter. Interns contribute directly to analysis and investigative projects, in addition to basic site maintenance. While our internship program is fairly flexible and we encourage interns to work remotely, it requires a commitment of at least 10-15 hours per week, for periods of no less than three months. We will only accept the number of interns that we can mentor at a given time on a one-on-one basis.

    Applicants must have obtained or be working towards an advanced degree in political science, history, criminal justice, international journalism or Latin American studies and are expected to speak and read Spanish or Portuguese in addition to English.

    To apply, please send a resume, cover letter and two writing samples to:

    Employment Opportunities at InSight Crime

    The Foundation only recruits staff from people who have already written for us or done an internship.

    To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to:

  • What We Do and - Every weekday, nearly every week of the year, we scour for news in the region from which we publish several News Briefs and News Analysis articles on our hallmark websites. Almost every month, we produce a special Investigation on the sites based on our own in-country reporting, based on field research. Using this research, we regularly produce and update Profiles of countries, criminal organizations and personalities from around the region. The process is laborious and resource intensive, but it has helped us create the most complete database on organized crime in the Americas.

    Reports - We produce special reports for both the public and private sectors on the dynamics of conflict and organized crime, and their effects on society, government, and business. The reports are based on our on-the-ground field research. Unlike many other think tanks which rely on open source material to compile their analysis, InSight Crime goes to the area and speaks to local stakeholders, government entities, international law enforcement and the criminals themselves. We have completed investigative projects in Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia. If you are interested in seeing examples of our work or contracting us to write a report, please contact us.

    Trainings - Drawing from our own experience and current work, InSight Crime trains journalists and non-governmental organizations in how to cover organized crime, corruption and citizen security. The trainings -- which normally include follow up sessions and virtual correspondence -- can be broken down into the following sections:

    1. The process of deciding on a topic, doing the pre-investigation, doing the actual investigation, and how to think through the writing and display of this topic;

    2. How to develop these stories in written, graphic, and/or audiovisual form in order to maximize the use of online platforms to extend the life and reach of the project;

    3. How to maximize the reach of these projects via partnerships with other organizations (civil society organizations with media and vice-versa);

    4. How to minimize the risks for reporters, editors, investigators and subjects of the stories.

    We have now created a detailed series of safety protocols that allow us and other investigators to operate in even the most hostile environments in the region. We have conducted workshops in Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Paraguay. If you are interested in a workshop on one or all of these subjects, please contact us.

    Assessments - We provide assessment of state initiatives aimed at dismantling organized crime and enhancing citizen security. We give detailed analysis of the institutions in place to deal with issues of crime and governance and study the ways governments are implementing strategies and dividing up resources. We have carried out assessments in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico. If you are interested in seeing examples of our work or contracting the organization to assess your ongoing projects, please contact us.