Criminal Actors

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

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Brazil Profile

BRAZIL / SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, has seen some important security advances in recent years, taking dozens of communities in Rio…

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.

Diego Fernando Murillo, alias ‘Don Berna’

COLOMBIA / 2016-11-17 14:48:11

Until his extradition to the United States in 2008, Diego Fernando Murillo, alias "Don Berna," was the leader of mafia…

Zetas

MEXICO / 4 APR 2012

Beginning as a group of Special Forces deserters at the service of the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas would go on…

Zetas

MEXICO GROUPS / 21 JAN 2012

Beginning as a group of Special Forces deserters at the service of the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas would go on…

Henry de Jesús López, alias ‘Mi Sangre’

AUC / 2017-03-09 22:14:34

Medellin native Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias "Mi Sangre," had a prolific criminal career that saw him…

Jose Eberto Lopez Montero, alias ‘Caracho’

CARACHO / 2017-03-09 22:17:24

Jose Eberto Lopez Montero, alias "Caracho," is a former soldier who was recruited into the ranks of the United Self-Defense…

Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias ‘Timochenko’

COLOMBIA PERSONALITIES / JANUARY 28, 2020

Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias "Timochenko," is only the third commander-in-chief in the FARC's nearly 50-year history. Of the three, Timochenko…

Cleaning Up Colombia’s Vote: The Government Response

COLOMBIA / 25 OCT 2011

Colombia's government is making more effort than ever before to keep criminals from winning political power in the coming…

Latest News

Colectivos Ramp Up Property Seizures in Venezuela

COLECTIVOS / 2 MAR 2021

An increase in the number of reports of illegal invasions of homes and commercial establishments in Venezuela during the pandemic has revealed the ever-widening criminal portfolio managed by militant civilian…

French Guiana’s Unpatrolled Waters Lure Illegal Fishing Crews

BRAZIL / 2 MAR 2021

Illegal fishing off the coast of French Guiana surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as French maritime patrols struggled to mobilize resources, luring illegal fishing crews to the country's pristine waters.

4 Key Takeaways from the Romanian Mafia in Mexico

MEXICO / 1 MAR 2021

An investigation into a criminal group, led by Romanians based in Mexico and specialized in ATM skimming and credit card fraud, has continued to uncover fascinating details about how the…

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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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