Investigation and Analysis of Organized Crime
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Extortion

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Women in Guatemala: The New Faces of Extortion?

A visit to a women’s prison in the city of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, shows the increasing role that women play in extortion rackets. The ubiquity of extortion...
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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...
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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...
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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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Cuban Doctors Used in Extortion Scheme by Venezuelan Gov’t

A new investigation has revealed how Cuban doctors are used by the Venezuelan government in an extortion scheme to remain in power, revealing new forms of criminal...
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Colombian Loan Sharks in Mexico Enjoy Major Cartel Protection

A new report says that some of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations are overseeing loan sharking schemes headed by Colombian nationals throughout the...
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Growing Extortion Spurs Wave of Deadly Bus Attacks in Guatemala

Though violence has decreased in Guatemala, recent deadly attacks against buses show that public transport remains under siege by gangs, which have increased their...
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GameChangers 2018: Venezuelan Migration a New Gold Mine for Organized Crime

Turbulence reigned in 2018, but there was one constant: the flow of Venezuelans fleeing their country. The unceasing migration has left thousands of people...
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For Informant, a Treacherous Road to Justice in El Salvador

Even under the best of circumstances, there are few incentives to become a cooperating witness in an extortion case in El Salvador. And, as one witness has found...
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Majority of Businesses Hurt by Crime in Mexico: Report

A new report from Mexico’s statistics institute provides fresh evidence that the nation’s ongoing security crisis has taken a toll on the local economy,...