The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
Authorities in Bolivia have identified three trafficking routes used to transport drugs from Peru to Brazil by land and water, indicating traffickers are not wholly reliant on the aerial route currently the subject of a security forces crackdown.
Uraba, which means "promised land" in the indigenous tongue, was the cradle of the paramilitaries, and remains the country's principal BACRIM stronghold. This is where most of the Urabeños command nodes still meet, and it is the seat of the organization's "board of directors," or Estado Mayor. The region is crucial drug trafficking real estate, providing access to coca crops located in the Nudo de Paramillo, the mountains of Bolívar and the jungles of Choco. It sits astride one of the most important drug movement corridors from the center of the country to the departure points on both the Pacific and Atlantic seaboards. Finally, it has a culture of illegality that stretches from the formation of the Marxist rebels in the 1960s, if not before, which provides fertile ground for today's BACRIM to flourish.
The name BACRIM was created by the government of former President Alvaro Uribe in the aftermath of the demobilization of the AUC. Then-President Uribe was keen to draw a line in the sand, to avoid undermining the AUC peace process. For this reason, any drug trafficking organizations post-2006 were not to be considered paramilitary groups, but rather, "criminal bands," (for the Spanish "bandas criminales" – BACRIM). Yet all but one of the BACRIM had their roots in the AUC. The exception that proved the rule was the Rastrojos, which emerged from the military wing of a faction of the Norte del Valle Cartel.
Two wildly divergent views of what is happening with the truce between El Salvador's two foremost gangs converge in one important way: they both paint a bleak picture for the near future of the fragile agreement and of the country.
Deep in the Amazon, where Colombia, Brazil and Peru meet, the once crime saturated Colombian city of Leticia enjoys relative tranquility, while Brazilian neighbor Tabatinga is rocked by drug trade violence.
A recent report on cocaine "backpackers" in Peru reveals the workings of a low-tech trafficking technique that is on the increase again, as security forces destroy illegal air strips and seek to restrict the use of drug flights from coca-producing areas.
The US Treasury has added an alleged Sinaloa Cartel member linked to drug lord Juan Jose "El Azul" Esparragoza Moreno to its Kingpin List, as the authorities increase the pressure on Mexico's leading criminal organization following the arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
The emergence of allegations made by an incarcerated drug baron that he funded the political activities of Colombia's former President Alvaro Uribe comes as a timely reminder of the country's vulnerability to drug money influence in the run-up to national elections.
Mexico's landmark oil reform is poised to bring a flood of new companies into the nation's energy industry, adding a new set of targets for organized crime.
Officials in Guatemala have connected a massacre of nine people in the northern state of Peten to "score settling" among drug traffickers, in what appears another manifestation of the turmoil afflicting the region since the debilitation of the Zetas Mexican criminal group, and the capture and extradition of several powerful local traffickers.