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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

Why Does Latin America Dominate the World's Most Violent Cities List?

NEWS / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population centers. The top eight are all in Mexico and the…

US Sanctions Up Ante in Hunt for Guatemala's Huistas

NEWS / 23 MAR 2022

The United States government has ramped up its pursuit of one of Guatemala’s most enduring drug clans – the so-called “Huistas.”…

Guatemala's Lorenzana Clan in Turmoil as Assassination Targets Third Generation

NEWS / 10 MAR 2022

The recent assassination of a former drug lord's grandson may stem from disputes between members of a family clan already rocked by arrests and extraditions.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 FEB 2022

With cries of corruption mounting against Guatemala’s president, the country’s Attorney General has taken minimal action and instead ramped up her crackdown on prosecutors investigating high-level graft.

CARIBBEAN / 11 FEB 2022

Latin American countries scored poorly on Transparency International’s latest corruption index, with the worst joining the ranks of war-torn nations and dictatorships.

GUATEMALA / 7 FEB 2022

In this run-down neighborhood in Guatemala City, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) does not exist. And yet, there are still a host of emeeses, as the gang's members are known.

GUATEMALA / 4 FEB 2022

A former Guatemala mayor and his family have been accused of smuggling more than a dozen migrants later massacred in Mexico.

ARGENTINA / 1 FEB 2022

In 2021, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean experienced a marked increase in murders. Resurgent violence was to be expected after some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 lockdowns…

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 JAN 2022

A fugitive former minister linked to a multi-million dollar cash seizure has turned himself over to Guatemalan authorities at an opportune time – after the anti-impunity unit investigating his case…

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