Criminal Actors

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

Filter by
From
Ordered By

MS13

EL SALVADOR / SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

The Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13, is perhaps the most notorious street gang in the Western Hemisphere. While it has its…

Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia - AUC

AUC / NOVEMBER 17, 2015

The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) was a coalition of Colombian paramilitaries that used the conflict to carry out illicit…

Mendozas

GUATEMALA / 2020-03-09 23:47:18

Based in Guatemala's northern-most province of Peten, the Mendozas mainly ran contraband before becoming one of Central America's drug trafficking…

Leones

GUATEMALA / MARCH 9, 2020

The Leones traditionally operated along Guatemala's eastern border with Honduras and El Salvador, and were car thieves and cattle rustlers…

Lorenzanas

GUATEMALA / 2021-01-13

The Lorenzanas are a traditional contraband family, who, over time, became enmeshed in the lucrative drug trade. The group's criminal…

Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias "Juan Chamale"

GUATEMALA PERSONALITIES / 2017-03-09 22:42:30

Until his arrest in March 2011, Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias "Juan Chamale," was ranked by the United States Drug…

Águilas Negras

ÁGUILAS NEGRAS / 2017-03-09 23:48:37

The Aguilas Negras, or Black Eagles, are a non-cohesive group dedicated to protecting the economic interests of former mid-level…

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias 'La Tuta'

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 2017-03-09

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias "La Tuta," was a former high-ranking member of the Familia Michoacana.

Angel de Jesus Pacheco Chanci, alias 'Sebastian'

COLOMBIA PERSONALITIES / 2017-03-09 23:50:47

Angel de Jesus Pacheco Chanci, alias "Sebastian," is generally recognized as being responsible for a great deal…

Rafael Alvarez Piñeda, alias 'Chepe'

COLOMBIA PERSONALITIES / 2016-11-07 21:08:28

A member of Colombia’s AUC, Rafael Alvarez Piñeda, alias "Chepe," demobilized in 2006, going on to lead…

Cesar Augusto Torres Lujan, alias 'Mono Vides'

COLOMBIA PERSONALITIES / 2017-03-09 23:52:15

A former fighter in the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), Cesar Augusto Torres Lujan, alias "Mono Vides,"…

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias 'Otoniel'

COLOMBIA PERSONALITIES / MAY 4, 2022

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel,” is the head of Colombia’s most powerful criminal group, the Urabeños, and the country’s most…

Latest

Northern Chile Struggling to Contain Skyrocketing Homicide Rate

BOLIVIA / 9 AUG 2022

Politicians are pushing for the Chilean government to declare a state of emergency in the northern regions including Tarapacá…

Why is Brazil’s Highway Police Suddenly Killing So Many People?

BRAZIL / 9 AUG 2022

Under President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's highway police seems to have become a brutal instrument of death.

Memo Fantasma Freed from Colombian Prison

AUC / 8 AUG 2022

Guillermo León Acevedo Giraldo, alias "Memo Fantasma," has been granted his liberty from a maximum-security prison in Bogotá.

image

Browse by Country

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

VIEW MAP
icon #SupportFreePress
image

Support Our Work

Investigating organized crime is an expensive and often risky enterprise. Reaching primary sources and getting the real story involve extensive fieldwork. Please donate. Every dollar supports our mission.

DONATE NOW image