Investigation and Analysis of Organized Crime
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Extortion

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Copycat Extortionists: Guatemala’s Criminal Chancers

Widespread fear of street gangs in the Northern Triangle countries is being exploited by copycat groups who pose as gang members to extort victims. These criminal...
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Honduras Private Sector and Anti-Extortion Police: An Unholy Alliance?

Honduras’ private sector, under the banner of regional chambers of commerce, joined forces with the country’s elite anti-extortion unit in what was a fruitful...
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Panama’s Sex Workers Easy Prey for Extortionist Cops

In Panama, women in the sex trade are exposed to monetary and sexual extortion by corrupt police officers. But a new prosecution system has gone some way to...
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The MS13’s Vital Fuel: Extortion

El Salvador’s groundbreaking "Operación Jaque" (Operation Check) has provided a wealth of information on the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), revealing the gang’s...
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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...
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Corrupt State Actors

Although gangs dominate the extortion markets in Central America, corrupt state agents will collude with them and even run some of their own extortion...
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Independent Criminal Groups

The variety of extortionists in Central America speaks to the ease with which opportunists can set up their own schemes. Independent actors have taken advantage of...
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Copycats

Through the use of violence, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang (Barrio 18)  have become the most feared criminal brands in the Northern Triangle....
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Guatemala’s Small Businesses: A Pot of Gold

In parts of Guatemala City, opening a small business or setting up an informal stall can carry a death sentence. Every week, shopkeepers and business owners pay...
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Extortion of Guatemala’s Red Buses: Where Gang and Elite Criminal Interests Meet

The gangs’ bloody business of extorting transport in Guatemala has provided a pernicious environment and the perfect cover for some  economic and political elite...
Elias Akl Extortionist
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Loan Sharking Grows in Costa Rica by Piggybacking on Drug Trafficking

Costa Rica’s economic crisis and its strategic position along drug trafficking routes have created the perfect storm for a new type of extortion to take root:...
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Extortion and Sexual Violence: Women’s Unspoken Suffering

Financial extortion in El Salvador spares neither women nor men. But women simultaneously suffer from a more insidious form of extortion shaped by the threat of...