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Legal Loophole Allows Mexico Drug Lord Luxury Jail Conditions

One of Mexico’s richest drug lords lives in luxury in his prison cell, attended by a butler and a private chef, demonstrating that the country’s most...

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...

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...

Prison Break of Italian Mafia Boss Threatens Uruguay’s Reputation

The high-profile prison break of Italian mafia boss Rocco Morabito from prison in Montevideo has further called into doubt Uruguay's reputation as one of the...

Riots and Violence Overwhelm Venezuela’s Police Stations

A new type of "pranato," or prison boss, is flourishing inside Venezuelan police stations, where riots, escapes, extortion rackets and killings are now common in...

Colombia Police Stations Face Overcrowding and Escape Attempts

An escape attempt by detainees held at a Medellín police station shows that overcrowding in Colombia's prisons has affected smaller law enforcement facilities,...

Corruption Leaves Ecuador’s Prisoners Facing Precarious Conditions

The intoxication of 204 inmates in a prison in Ecuador is the latest revelation of deep-seated corruption inside the country’s prison system, where surrender of...

Brazil Prisons Become Battlegrounds for Familia do Norte Civil War

A turf war among the founders of Familia do Norte, northern Brazil’s most powerful crime group, has left dozens of prisoners dead and will have major implications...

Ecuador Sends in Troops Amid Troubling Prison Gang Violence

Officials in Ecuador have deployed armed forces to various prisons around the country in an effort to improve security within them, underscoring the consequences of...

General’s Murder Hints at Complete Impunity for Venezuela Megabandas

The recent murders of an air force general and five other security officials in Venezuela, believed to have been carried out by a mega-gang, confirms...

Prison Mafia in Venezuela is Not Just the ‘Pranes’: Carlos Nieto

Carlos Nieto Palma has witnessed the worst of Venezuela's prison system during the past two decades as a lawyer defending the rights of...
northern triangle map

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...