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Guatemala

Guatemala's criminal organizations are among the most sophisticated and dangerous in Central America. Some of them have been in operation for decades. They include former members of the military, intelligence agencies and active members of the police.

Latest News

Anti-Corruption Judge Becomes Next Target of Guatemala Prosecutors

NEWS / 19 JAN 2022

A Guatemalan judge recently heralded by the US State Department as a “woman of courage” says she is being attacked by her country’s Attorney General’s Office over her work on…

GameChangers 2021: US Losing War on Corruption in Central America

NEWS / 30 DEC 2021

The United States, under the Biden administration, was supposed to help curb corruption, but for corrupt officials in Central America, life has rarely looked better.

Sons of Former Panama President Plead Guilty in Odebrecht Investigation

NEWS / 16 DEC 2021

Two sons of former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the United States related to the sweeping Odebrecht corruption scandal…

Guatemala Profile

Criminal Actors

Armed Groups

Guatemala’s multitude of criminal groups range from violent street gangs to trafficking groups that serve as intermediaries for Colombian and Mexican cartels. The violent MS13 and Barrio 18 gangs both have a foothold in the country, controlling extortion activities in Guatemala City’s urban neighborhoods. Long-time smuggling groups also have operations in the country’s porous border regions. These groups often have links to corrupt officials, ranging from local politicians to high-level security and government officials.

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News

GUATEMALA / 8 DEC 2021

A transnational labor trafficking network brought dozens of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to the United States under the guise of agricultural work only to exploit them using brutal…

ELITES AND CRIME / 1 DEC 2021

Ground to a halt in Guatemala City’s unrelenting morning traffic, a small team of government investigators began to worry they had lost their suspect. …

ELITES AND CRIME / 1 DEC 2021

As day broke in Guatemala City on August 31, 2016, a judge named Carlos Ruano anxiously awaited a meeting with one of Guatemala’s most powerful magistrates.

ELITES AND CRIME / 1 DEC 2021

On July 5, 2019, one of Guatemala’s deadliest and most infamous corruption cases landed in the murky world of the country’s appellate court. …

GUATEMALA / 23 SEP 2021

The Jalisco Cartel New Generation, which has rapidly expanded to become Mexico's greatest criminal threat, may now be spreading its influence in a new area: the border with Guatemala.

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 SEP 2021

A Guatemalan court has issued an arrest warrant for exiled anti-corruption prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval, ending any chance that he will soon return to Guatemala and resume his former work…

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