The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
Violence perpetrated by "mara" street gangs and drug trafficking groups in Central America undermines the state and leads to high homicide rates, forced recruitment and forced displacement -- an impact comparable to that of an armed conflict.
US authorities have reportedly discovered gang members among the thousands of unaccompanied child migrants in holding centers, providing another facet to the already complex issue of migrants fleeing criminal violence, but one unlikely to pose a grave security threat.
Authorities in El Salvador have identified a number of international drug trafficking routes and warned of the increasing involvement of the country's street gangs in the drug trade, although similar concerns in the past have yet to be substantiated.
Authorities in El Salvador are investigating the possible role of death squads in a spate of recent murders of gang members, the clearest indication yet that gang violence has led to extrajudicial killings in the country.
One of El Salvador's most notorious underworld figures and a key link between the MS13 gang and drug traffickers is set to walk free in a blow to efforts to end the impunity that surrounds the country's most powerful criminals.
Rival politicians, and some press accounts, blame what they call the Obama administration’s lenient policy towards immigrant youth for luring thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America to the US. After hundreds of interviews with minors in El Salvador, researcher Elizabeth Kennedy* says the reason youth flee is simple: gang violence.
El Salvador's principal gangs -- among them the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 -- have called on the new administration to maintain the country's gang truce, in what appears to be a last ditch effort to save both the pact and the benefits it has brought them.
In the aftermath of the collapse of El Salvador's gang truce, authorities have said the MS13 gang is deepening its hold on illegal migration routes in Mexico, a possible sign of the increasing transnational capabilities indicated by both Salvadoran and US officials.
Authorities in Providence, Rhode Island have dismantled four residential brothels this year, shedding light on the receiving end of Latin America's lucrative sex trade, which receives comparatively little attention.
Four months after being sworn in as president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez has carried out some security-oriented initiatives to battle his country's rising murder rate. Apart from creating the Military Police of Public Order (PMOP), Hernandez's security forces succeeded in capturing a drug kingpin in March, and also have successfully managed to pressure cell phone companies into creating a perimeter around prisons that cuts off satellite reception. Since the implementation of these policies, about one thousand new soldiers have been integrated into the PMOP, the captured drug lord, Carlos Arnoldo Lobo, has been extradited to the US, and extortions have gone down 75 percent.