Criminal Actors

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

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Sinaloa Cartel

MEXICO GROUPS / 2021-05-04

The Sinaloa Cartel is often described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere.

Bagdad

BAGDAD / 2021-05-05

Bagdad, along with its rival Calor Calor, is one of Panama’s two main gang federations, consisting of 30-40 smaller gangs…

Libertadores del Vichada

COLOMBIA / 23 ABRIL DE 2021

The Libertadores del Vichada are a splinter group of the Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia.

Colombia Profile

COLOMBIA / 2021-01-21

While Colombia's situation has improved since the FARC demobilized, it faces significant challenges from a more fragmented organized crime landscape.

Carlos Luis Revete, alias 'El Koki'

EL KOKI / FEBRUARY 8, 2022

Carlos Luis Revette, alias “El Koki,” is one of Venezuela’s most wanted criminals and leader of the “megabanda" that controls…

EPL

COLOMBIA GROUPS / JULY 15, 2022

The EPL, also called the Pelusos, were once a major criminal threat in Colombia but have faded in recent years…

Santa Ana, El Salvador

GEOGRAPHIC PROFILES / 22 MAR 2021

Santa Ana is a key transit point for criminal groups smuggling cocaine and marijuana between El Salvador and Guatemala. It…

La Unión, El Salvador

GEOGRAPHIC PROFILES / 22 MAR 2021

La Unión’s two ports and its Pacific coastline are routinely used by cocaine smugglers moving drugs north in boats and…

Chalatenango, El Salvador

GEOGRAPHIC PROFILES / 22 MAR 2021

Though not a major hub for transnational organized crime, the department of Chalatenango is a transit point for migrants, arms…

Cabañas, El Salvador

GEOGRAPHIC PROFILES / 22 MAR 2021

Aside from some contraband smuggling between Cabañas and neighboring Honduras, there is no indication that the department is involved in…

San Miguel, El Salvador

GEOGRAPHIC PROFILES / 22 MAR 2021

San Miguel was an important operational center for the once-powerful Perrones drug cartel. It is also a hotbed for gang…

Morazán, El Salvador

GEOGRAPHIC PROFILES / 22 MAR 2021

There is a minor presence of transnational organized crime in Morazán and limited gang activity.

Latest

CJNG Control of Illegal Mining in Michoacán, Mexico, Claiming Indigenous Lives

ILLEGAL MINING / 27 JAN 2023

With cartels like the CJNG muscling in on illegal mining in Michoacán, Mexico, Indigenous community members continue to suffer.

Otoniel Pleads Guilty: Farewell to Colombia's Last Kingpin

COLOMBIA / 26 JAN 2023

Otoniel, the fallen head of the Urabeños crime syndicate, has pleaded guilty in New York. His trial will mark the end of an era.

Ecuador's Navy Grappling With Mounting Evidence of Criminal Collusion

COCAINE / 26 JAN 2023

Corrupt Navy troops in Ecuador can be highly useful for drug traffickers, either to protect cocaine shipments or to simply let them pass.

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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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