Investigation and Analysis of Organized Crime
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Barrio 18

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El Salvador Arrests General Behind 2012 Gang Truce

Salvadoran authorities have arrested General David Munguía Payés, a former defense minister who spearheaded a controversial truce between the government of former...
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Gang Violence Increasingly Spreading to Women’s Prisons in Honduras

Deadly violence within female prisons in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador is rare. But a spate of recent murders in a Honduran prison appears to be a warning...
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Coronavirus Rattles Barrio 18 Structure in Guatemala

Police in Guatemala say the economic pressures stemming from the coronavirus lockdown are exacerbating internal divisions within the Barrio 18 street gang, a...
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Eruption of Gang Violence Belies Bukele’s Security Wins in El Salvador

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele has lashed out after several days of bloodshed amid a coronavirus lockdown, blaming the spike in killings on gangs. But in...
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El Salvador President Gains Most From Prosecution of Rivals

The evidence used to indict several high-ranking politicians in El Salvador for negotiating with gangs has been around for years, raising questions about why...
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El Salvador’s Prosecutions of Officials Who Negotiated With Gangs Explained

Prosecutors in El Salvador have charged high-ranking politicians with electoral fraud in connection to their controversial negotiations with gang leaders, opening a...
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GameChangers 2019: Latin America’s Top 10 Criminal Groups

Colombia’s last rebel army is now the most powerful criminal syndicate in Latin America, as it expands across Colombia and far into Venezuela, deepening its...
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Are El Salvador’s Gangs Behind Historic Murder Drop?

El Salvador has ended 2019 with its lowest murder rate in years. But though the government has taken credit for the drop, there are likely multiple factors at...
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El Salvador Inmates Defy Phone Ban With Toilet Paper, Toothpaste

A government crackdown on phone use in prisons has led inmates in El Salvador to adopt desperate measures to communicate with the outside world, including using...
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El Salvador Gangs Use Hospital Staff to Pass On Criminal Orders

A network of corrupt hospital officials is allegedly helping imprisoned gang members communicate attack orders to other associates, in just the latest state...
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El Salvador Flirts with ‘Mano Dura’ Security Policies Again

The new administration of El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has already shown that it will adopt hardline measures to combat the MS13 and Barrio 18 street gangs --...
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Street Gangs

The notorious Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang (Barrio 18) are behind the majority of extortion rackets in the Northern Triangle. The development of...