Criminal Actors

Histories and profiles of organized crime groups, insurgencies, street gangs, vigilantes and the criminal actors that lead them.

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Moris Alexander Bercián Manchón, alias ‘El Barney’

EL SALVADOR / 2020-03-09

Moris Alexander Bercián Manchón, alias "El Barney," is one of six MS13 members in El Salvador sanctioned by the United…

EPR

EPR / 2017-03-07 21:46:34

The Popular Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Popular Revolucionario - EPR) is a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group based in southern Mexico that has…

Knights Templar

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / MAY 5, 2020

The Knights Templar (Cabelleros Templarios) emerged in March 2011 as a splinter group of the once-mighty Familia Michoacana. Like their predecessors, the Knights Templar cast themselves…

Juárez Cartel

JUAREZ CARTEL / JULY 10, 2020

The Juárez Cartel is responsible for smuggling tons of narcotics from Mexico into the United States throughout its long and turbulent…

FARC

COLOMBIA / 1 MAY 2013

As the biggest irregular army in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia…

First Capital Command – PCC

BRAZIL / MARCH 9, 2020

The First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) was inspired by the Red Command (Comando Vermelho). Both criminal…

Red Command

BRAZIL GROUPS / 2 APR 2013

The Red Command (Comando Vermelho) is Brazil’s oldest criminal group, created in a Rio de Janeiro prison in the 1970s…

Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, alias ‘Nem’

AMIGOS DOS AMIGOS / 2018-04-04

Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, alias “Nem,” led the Amigos dos Amigos gang in Rocinha, a neighborhood of some 150,000 residents…

Norte del Valle Cartel

NORTE DEL VALLE / 2015-11-17 19:50:59

The Norte del Valle Cartel (NDVC) emerged out of the breakup of the infamous Cali Cartel to became the wealthiest and most powerful Colombian drug trafficking organization…

Urabeños

COLOMBIA MAFIA / 6 JAN 2013

The Urabeños emerged from the ashes of Colombia’s paramilitary movement to become the dominant criminal force in Colombia, with a…

Barrio Azteca

BARRIO AZTECA / 2018-07-09

The Barrio Azteca prison gang emerged in Texas prisons, later served as armed support to the Juárez Cartel, and has…

Roberto Vargas Gutiérrez, alias ‘Gavilán’

COLOMBIA / 2017-09-01 17:13:50

Roberto Vargas Gutiérrez, alias "Gavilán," transformed himself from Maoist guerrilla to paramilitary fighter to top leader of the Urabeños.

Latest News

Costa Rica Cocaine Theft Ring Relies on Crooked Agents

COCAINE / 13 APR 2021

The dismantling of a Costa Rican drug gang that worked with agents in an elite investigative unit to steal cocaine shipments from rival traffickers is yet another sign of the…

Underwater Drone Would Have Secretly Delivered Cocaine to Europe

COCAINE / 13 APR 2021

A successful Detroit telecommunications businessman secretly bankrolled the development and construction of an underwater drone, which could have been used to move tons of cocaine to Europe, according to a…

Ecuador’s Self-Defeating Anti-Trafficking Law

COCAINE / 12 APR 2021

While authorities in Ecuador tally record cocaine seizures, a change to the criminal code in the Andean country has possibly made it more difficult to prosecute large-scale traffickers.

Investigations

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A country-by-country breakdown of the news as well as key criminal groups and players across Latin America and the Caribbean.

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