HomeCountriesGuatemala organized crime news


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

Chiapas Bleeds as CJNG, Sinaloa Cartel Fight for Guatemala Trafficking Routes

NEWS / 2 JUN 2023

Clashes between the Sinaloa Cartel and the CJNG in Chiapas, close to the Mexico-Guatemala border have displacee of thousands.

Guatemala Elites Flex Muscle, Excluding Leading Presidential Contender

NEWS / 26 MAY 2023

Carlos Pineda, the leading candidate in Guatemala's presidential elections, has been removed from the race on a technicality.

Guatemala Ex-Colonel Says Military Helped CJNG Run Drugs 

NEWS / 24 MAY 2023

Guatemala's military was corrupted by Mexico's CJNG, a former Guatemalan colonel has confirmed during a drug trafficking trial in the US.

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.




COCA / 15 MAR 2023

Coca cultivation remains concentrated in the Andes, but escalating seizures suggest it could eventually be successful elsewhere.

COCAINE / 7 MAR 2023

The US State Department's annual narcotics report sees coca cultivation spreading, while Colombia remains the top cocaine supplier to the US.

COCA / 10 FEB 2023

Guatemala is dealing with the rapid expansion of coca leaf plantations, but there is little evidence the country is becoming a cocaine producer.


InSight Crime's 2022 Homicide Round-Up covers more countries than ever before, with a major expansion into nations of the Caribbean.


Extortion in Latin America continues to bring in fortunes for criminal gangs. So how do they do it?…

BOLIVIA / 29 DEC 2022

The US is losing allies in Latin America just as production of cocaine, fentanyl, and other synthetic drugs is going through the roof.

icon #SupportFreePress

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.