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Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and the Tri-Border Area

InSight Crime has spent two years chronicling criminal activity in Central America’s Northern Triangle and the Southern Cone’s Tri-Border Area – two regions pivotal to transborder crime.

We have mapped out criminal actors and economies in 39 border departments across six countries – Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.

To visualize our research, InSight Crime has developed an interactive dashboard – an online mapping tool that allows users to explore different types of criminal activities and groups in both regions.

Interactive Map

Events

Six deep-dive investigations into corruption and transnational crime will be progressively rolled out during the online series, with each investigation highlighting a particular country. For full details and registration, click on the event listing.

Border Departments and OC

Santa Ana, El Salvador

EL SALVADOR / 22 MAR 2021

Santa Ana is a key transit point for criminal groups smuggling cocaine and marijuana between El Salvador and Guatemala. It also has a strong gang presence.

La Unión, El Salvador

EL SALVADOR / 22 MAR 2021

La Unión’s two ports and its Pacific coastline are routinely used by cocaine smugglers moving drugs north in boats and submarines.

Chalatenango, El Salvador

EL SALVADOR / 22 MAR 2021

Though not a major hub for transnational organized crime, the department of Chalatenango is a transit point for migrants, arms and drugs.

Cabañas, El Salvador

EL SALVADOR / 22 MAR 2021

Aside from some contraband smuggling between Cabañas and neighboring Honduras, there is no indication that the department is involved in any major transnational crime.

San Miguel, El Salvador

EL SALVADOR / 22 MAR 2021

San Miguel was an important operational center for the once-powerful Perrones drug cartel. It is also a hotbed for gang activity.