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A new report by the international watchdog group Global Witness says two-thirds of documented killings of environmentalists over the last decade occurred in Latin America and nearly half in Brazil, as environmental campaigns clash with both legal and criminal business interests, especially in the timber trade.

Published in News Briefs

Conservationists in Costa Rica have reacted strongly to a court ruling that absolves a woman accused of shark "finning" and orders the compensation of a boat captain connected to the case, saying the judgment effectively serves to legitimize the illicit trade.

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Authorities in Mexico have seized a record 10,000 ton haul of illegal timber worth more than $1 million, another indication of the wide range of illicit activities undertaken by criminal organizations to increase revenue streams. 

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Heavily armed pirates have been hijacking shrimp catches along Mexico's Pacific Coast, perhaps the work of cartel gunmen with time on their hands, or a sign of an interruption in cocaine shipments.

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A documentary by indigenous communities in Panama has cast light on the catastrophic effect of illegal logging and ranching on the country's rainforest, in another example of the impact of criminal activity on rural communities and the environment. 

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More than 2,000 working-class families in an Ecuador slum were tricked into buying small plots of land that were never for sale, in an example of a regional crime that strongly affects rural areas but can also have a major impact in cities.

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More than two dozen armed men raided a ranch in Paraguay, held its employees hostage, and took off with 350 head of cattle, in an unusually bold example of an often overlooked but widespread crime in Latin America.

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Authorities in Nicaragua seized over 1,400 cubic meters of timber harvested illegally from a northern forest reserve in 2013 -- likely just a fraction of what was extracted by illegal wood mafias supplying markets in Asia.

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Drug trafficking is responsible for the massive destruction of rainforests across Central America, according to a new study, destroying huge swathes of land for airstrips, roads, and cattle ranches that are used to launder money.

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Ten trafficked animals are recovered each day at Colombia's busiest airport, marking the extent of this thriving illegal trade, which experts say is being left unchallenged by public indifference. 

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InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

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Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

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El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

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Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

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The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

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Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

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FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

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Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

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Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

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Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

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Mexico Homicides: Something Doesn't Add Up

Mexico Homicides: Something Doesn't Add Up

The government of Mexico's declarations of a dramatic reduction in homicides linked to organized crime does not correspond with the figures produced by the National System of Public Security. Someone is counting poorly.

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Will US Plea Deal With 'El Mayo's' Son Impact Sinaloa Leadership?

Will US Plea Deal With 'El Mayo's' Son Impact Sinaloa Leadership?

A US federal court has made public a controversial plea deal with the son of Sinaloa Cartel leader Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada that reveals details of the organization's operations and raises the question: who may...

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Peru Arrests Show Shining Path Political Wing Still Seen as Threat

Peru Arrests Show Shining Path Political Wing Still Seen as Threat

Authorities in Peru have arrested 28 people linked to the political wing of the Shining Path guerrillas on charges of terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering, in an escalation of the government's actions against the ostensibly...

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