Profile

  • Cachiros

    The Cachiros are one of Honduras’ largest transport groups, with a net worth close to $1 billion. Made up of a family of former cattle rustlers, the organization has become a major player in the movement of cocaine between Colombian and Mexican organizations.

  • Familia Michoacana

    At the height of its power, the Familia Michoacana’s brutal tactics, strong base of operations and pseudo-religious ideology made it a formidable operation and a point of fascination for outsiders. However, the group has suffered a series of heavy blows, most notably that of leader Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo," who was falsely reported killed in 2010 and was later confirmed dead in a shootout in March 2014. The Familia is now thought to have been largely supplanted by a splinter group known as the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar).

  • Sinaloa Cartel

    The Sinaloa Cartel, often described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere, is an alliance of some of Mexico's top capos. The coalition's members operate in concert to protect themselves, relying on connections at the highest levels and corrupting portions of the federal police and military to maintain the upper hand against its rivals.

  • Shining Path

    The Shining Path is an insurgent group in Peru that has declined in recent years, although one faction remains dedicated to drug trafficking activities and extortion.

  • Gulf Cartel

    The Gulf Cartel is one of the oldest and most powerful of Mexico’s criminal groups but has lost territory and influence in recent years to its rivals, including its former enforcer wing, the Zetas. Working with Colombian suppliers, this group moves drugs north from its stronghold in Tamaulipas, and is known to outsource other activities, especially those related to human trafficking, to local “enforcer” gangs. In the cartel's heyday, its boss, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, was considered the country’s most powerful underworld leader, and its enforcement arm, the Zetas, the most feared gang.

  • Tijuana Cartel

    The Tijuana Cartel, also known as the Arellano Felix Organization, is based in one of the most strategically important border towns in Mexico, and continues to export drugs even after being weakened by numerous arrests and a brutal internal war in 2009.

  • Knights Templar

    The Knights Templar (Cabelleros Templarios) is a splinter group of the once-mighty Familia Michoacana, which emerged in March 2011. Like their predecessors in the Familia, the Knights Templar cast themselves as a "self-defense" movement engaged in a struggle with Mexico's larger criminal cartels on behalf of the Michaocan population, and frequently employ religious imagery in their public communiques.

  • Juarez Cartel

    The Juarez Cartel is responsible for smuggling tons of narcotics from Mexico into the U.S. throughout its long and turbulent history, and the group’s intense rivalry with the Sinaloa Cartel helped turn Juarez into one of the most violent places in the world. 

  • First Capital Command - PCC

    The First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC) was inspired by the Red Command (Comando Vermelho). Both criminal organizations were formed by prisoners as self-protection groups in Brazil’s brutal prison system. The PCC arose in São Paulo in the 1990s, and has fought a bloody ongoing feud with police in the city. The group, now the largest and best-organized criminal organization in Brazil, is believed to have members in two-thirds of the country's states, and controls drug trafficking routes between Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

  • Red Command

    The Red Command (Comando Vermelho) is Brazil’s oldest criminal group, created in a Rio de Janeiro prison in the 1970s as a self-protection group for prisoners. It started out with low-level crime like muggings and bank robbery, but in the 1980s the group moved into the cocaine trade, working with Colombian drug cartels and taking on a social leadership role in many of Rio’s favelas.