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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

Death, Taxes, and Extortion: Why Latin American Companies Keep Paying Up

NEWS / 10 JAN 2023

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

GameChangers 2022: Drug Bonanza Amid Prohibition Challenges in 2023

NEWS / 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.

Human Smugglers Take to the Waves Along Mexico’s Pacific Coast

NEWS / 20 DEC 2022

Increased security on land borders is forcing more migrants to enter Mexico from Guatemala by sea, running the risk of drowning.

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

CIACS / 12 DEC 2022

Guatemala's former President Otto Pérez Molina and former Vice President Roxana Baldetti were sentenced to 16 years in prison on December 7.

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 12 OCT 2022

US and Guatemalan authorities will tell you Moises Humberto Rivera Luna, alias "Viejo Santos," is a top member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13). But is he?…

EL SALVADOR / 3 OCT 2022

Extortion in the Northern Triangle is predominantly done from prisons, yet prison populations have been on the rise.

BOLIVIA / 23 SEP 2022

As world leaders met for the United Nations General Assembly, Latin American presidents expressed various concerns about organized crime.

BARRIO 18 / 14 SEP 2022

In the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, Carlos was trained to become a ruthless soldier for the Cárteles Unidos.

ARGENTINA / 12 SEP 2022

Synthetic drugs like methamphetamine, fentanyl, and ecstasy are reshaping Latin America's drug trade.

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