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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

Dead Kidney Patients

INVESTIGATIONS / 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. …

Stress Test for Guatemalan Justice

INVESTIGATIONS / 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.

And Impunity for All

INVESTIGATIONS / 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 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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Investigations

News

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…

BELIZE / 10 AUG 2021

The leader of a transnational money laundering network cleaned drug money through a scheme that included casinos, a seafood export business and Chinese bank accounts.

ELITES AND CRIME / 5 AUG 2021

Before the firing of Juan Francisco Sandoval, Guatemala’s top anti-corruption prosecutor, Attorney General Consuelo Porras pressured him to curtail investigations while his unit probed accusations of corruption in Porras' office.

COCAINE / 3 AUG 2021

An anti-narcotics operation in western Guatemala has shed further light on how families involved in local politics can play a pivotal role in the regional cocaine trade.

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 JUL 2021

The dismissal of Juan Francisco Sandoval, Guatemala's leading anti-corruption prosecutor who has since fled the country, has drawn condemnation at home and abroad.

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