A “narcocorrido” band’s visit to the small town of El Paraiso in western Honduras has drawn attention to the narco-towns along Central America’s cocaine trail, where drug money and impunity reign.
The band K-Paz de la Sierra, which is associated with a genre of folk music known as narcocorrido, played a large but illegal concert in El Paraiso earlier this week.
The concert had no permit, yet authorities made no attempt to shut down the revelry. However, police did launch an operation in which they searched 18 armored vehicles, seized 25 guns and arrested two men on weapons charges, reported El Heraldo.
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Located on the so-called “road of death,” which is used by traffickers to move cocaine from Nicaragua to Guatemala, El Paraiso has earned a reputation as a safe haven for drug traffickers from across the region.
The municipality is isolated and rural, yet houses a replica of the White House (which even comes with its own helipad). Mansions, luxury vehicles and wild festivals are common sights. The mayor behind the transformation of the town, Alexander Ardon, has come under little scrutiny despite frequent allegations of corruption.
While other towns on the “road of death” have been plagued by high levels of violence caused by competing drug trafficking groups, El Paraiso seems to have become more of a drug traffickers playground and a refuge from the attention of law enforcement.
According to an intelligence official interviewed by investigative news site El Faro in 2011, the territory is controlled by people linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and there have been persistent rumors that cartel head Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has visited the area. The source said there were also signs of Zetas presence in the region.