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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.

Published in News Analysis

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.

Published in News Briefs

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. 

Published in News Briefs

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.

Published in News Briefs

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.

Published in News Briefs

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.

Published in News Analysis

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.

Published in News Briefs

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.

Published in News Briefs

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.

Published in News Briefs

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.

Published in News Analysis
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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

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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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The Northern Triangle Children Don't Leave Alone: They Are Taken

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The United States estimates that 60,000 children from Central America's Northern Triangle countries will enter the country without legal papers this year. US President Barack Obama has declared a crisis and has requested $3.7 billion...

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Ruling in Mexico Vigilantes Case Raises Demobilization Legal Issues

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A federal judge in Mexico has ruled in favor of three vigilantes accused of carrying illegal arms on the grounds they were defending themselves in the face of the state's failure to do so, throwing...

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Police Investigations Show Structure, International Expansion of Brazil's PCC

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Police in Brazil say two top leaders of the PCC criminal organization run financial operations out of Paraguay and the United States, information that sheds light on the inner workings and international expansion of what...

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