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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

Women Taking Bigger Role in Central America Extortion Schemes

NEWS / 11 MAY 2021

A new report suggests women are increasingly playing an active role in the extortion activities of Central American gangs -- part of a larger pattern in which women's roles in…

Poultrygeist – How Mexican Chickens Are Smuggled into Guatemala

NEWS / 30 APR 2021

A series of operations carried out by the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office against networks dedicated to trafficking Mexican poultry, shed light on how poultry smuggling works in the border area.

Washington Cracks Down on Guatemala Corruption

NEWS / 28 APR 2021

US sanctions on two Guatemalan politicians -- one a political operator and the other an influential legislator -- are the latest salvo by Washington to show it is serious about…

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 / 22 APR 2021

Former Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales' dismantling of an anti-corruption commission has come back to haunt him -- as prosecutors are asking that he be stripped of immunity to then decide…

COCAINE / 13 APR 2021

The dismantling of a Costa Rican drug gang that worked with agents in an elite investigative unit to steal cocaine shipments from rival traffickers is yet another sign of the…

COCAINE / 12 MAR 2021

The extradition of a mayor threatens to topple his family’s decades-long political control of a coastal Pacific town -- a region where local officials have a history of drug trafficking.

ELITES AND CRIME / 9 MAR 2021

The naming of judges to Guatemala's high courts has turned into an escalating fight between political elites seeking to stack the courts with allies and anti-impunity prosecutors accusing the elites…

GUATEMALA / 28 FEB 2021

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…

COCAINE / 22 FEB 2021

An anti-narcotics operation targeting an alleged trafficking ring in Guatemala has shed light on the increasing importance of small, often discrete transport networks in the country's cocaine trade.

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