san salvador gang presence
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Gang Presence in San Salvador

In terms of total monetary loss due to extortion, El Salvador tops all Northern Triangle countries. The country pays out an estimated $400 million a year in...
san pedro sula gang presence
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Gang Presence in San Pedro Sula

San Pedro Sula is Honduras’s second most populous urban center, and also deals with many of the same problems as the capital, Tegucigalpa, when it comes to street...
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Gang Presence in Tegucigalpa

Extortion in Honduras is both systematic and violent. The country is believed to pay out about $200 million yearly in extortion. Tegucigalpa, the country’s...
northern triangle map
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Extortion Explainer 1: Evolution of Extortion in the Northern Triangle

The Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are now home to some of the most sophisticated extortion schemes in Latin America. The birth...
monja blanca buses
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Extortion Explainer 2: From a “Cora” to the Rent

The Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang’s (Barrio 18) primary criminal economy is extortion, or what they call rent. In the early 1990s, when the gangs...
cellphone in hand picture
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Extortion Explainer 3: The Modus Operandi

A cheap phone and a few dollars’ worth of prepaid credit serve as the rudimentary tools of extortionists in Northern Triangle countries. Here are some of the most...
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The Collaborators in Guatemala: Chained to the MS13

The number of imprisoned women in Guatemala has quadrupled in the past five years, influenced by an increase in police mega-operations yielding more...
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The Collaborators in Honduras: The Girls Who Want to be Mortal

At 15, you are a woman, a gang member for the Barrio 18, in a marginal barrio of Honduras. You have kids, you are jailed, police abuse you and you question how to...
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New El Salvador President Will Face Old El Salvador Problem

A spike in police slayings have El Salvador's officers on edge as some called on social media for extrajudicial executions of suspected members of the street gangs,...