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...
el salvador police man picture
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Extortion Explainer 4: Undermining Institutions

Extortion spurs violence in Northern Triangle countries, which consistently have some of the highest murder rates in Latin America. But it is destructive in other...
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Extortion Explainer 5: Responses to Extortion Fall Short

Extortion is a particularly destructive crime because victims often have little recourse. Initial state responses have proven counterproductive, and more recent...
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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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Cocaine Haul Shows Sophisticated Trafficking Route Through Honduras’ La Mosquitia

Authorities in Honduras arrested four Colombian citizens caught in an attempt to smuggle over 100 kilograms of cocaine into the United States through a remote...
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US Corruption List Omits Key Central American Officials

Senior officials named in a US government list of corruption suspects in Central America have all been sentenced for their crimes -- a fact critics say raises...
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Honduras President Selective When Targeting Criminal Crackdowns

While he cracks down on gangs, the president of Honduras has largely ignored drug trafficking charges leveled at his family members and officials within his...
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Honduras Oil Theft Sees Renewed Attention for Old Crime

Oil theft in Honduras has been a reliable source of income for gangs for years, but the recovery of 50,000 liters of stolen fuel in the city of Puerto Cortés may...