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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

Despite Outrage, Guatemala Continues to Bulldoze Anti-Corruption Edifice

NEWS / 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.

Nicaragua Elites and Organized Crime: The Case of Henry Fariñas

INVESTIGATIONS / 15 JUL 2021

The murder of a prominent folk singer in Guatemala thrust a Nicaraguan nightclub owner into the spotlight and revealed an illicit drug trafficking network that stretched from Colombia to Mexico.

Did Guatemala Military Help Escort Sinaloa Cartel's Cocaine?

NEWS / 8 JUL 2021

A US investigation has shed light on the alleged participation of Guatemalan soldiers in a cocaine smuggling network linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, a reminder of the pivotal role the…

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

EL SALVADOR / 5 JUL 2021

The United States has released a highly-anticipated report on corrupt actors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, but the lack of clear criteria for those placed on the list may…

EXTORTION / 25 MAY 2021

A settling of scores in Guatemala left at least eight people dead after the son of a long-dead druglord took revenge for the assassination of his wife, again proving how…

ELITES AND CRIME / 21 MAY 2021

Guatemala seems to have brushed aside international pressure to crack down on entrenched government corruption, as authorities dropped charges against an embattled former president on the same day they arrested…

EL SALVADOR / 18 MAY 2021

Though far from revelatory, a new list of officials the United States government suspects of corruption and drug trafficking in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras may further roil Washington's relationships…

EL SALVADOR / 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…

CONTRABAND / 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.

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