Tri-Border Areas: Crime and Corruption

ARGENTINA / 29 JAN 2021


In this investigative series, InSight Crime tells the story of how coveted border territories have been transformed into fertile breeding grounds for corruption in Central America’s Northern Triangle and the Southern Cone’s Tri-Border Area – two of Latin America’s most crime-ravaged regions. Installments will be published from January to March 2021.

Based on two years of investigative reporting and extensive fieldwork, we explore the importance of state participation in transnational crime syndicates, from dirty cops to corrupt mayors to paid-off judges, and even narco-administrations.

InSight Crime has developed an interactive dashboard that allows users to explore different types of criminal activities and groups in both regions.

Chapter 1

A Mayor and a Wave of Narco Violence on Guatemala's Pacific

COCAINE / 29 JAN 2021

The mayor of Moyuta, Guatemala, knows how to do politics and business along the rough and tumble Guatemalan-Salvadoran border.

Chapter 2

One Party, Many Crimes: The Case of Honduras’ National Party

COCAINE / 16 FEB 2021

The party that has governed Honduras since 2010 has become a federation that welcomes politicians and officials involved in criminal businesses ranging from timber to drug trafficking to the misappropriation…

Chapter 3

Drug Trafficking and Political Protection in Paraguay: The Case of ‘Cucho’ Cabaña

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 FEB 2021

In a Paraguay border state, drug traffickers and dirty politicians find common ground, and political fights spill into the underworld.

Chapter 4

Chasing Brazil’s Premier Money Launderer

BRAZIL / 4 MAR 2021

There were few better at money laundering than the Brazilian Dario Messer, who, while scrambling to save himself from Brazilian authorities, did one last tour of his prime refuge, Paraguay,…

Chapter 5

From Argentine Shrine to Marijuana Corridor: The Story of Itatí

ARGENTINA / 16 MAR 2021

An ambitious mayor, a well-connected deputy mayor, dirty cops, a corrupt judge, and a lot of marijuana. This is the story of Itatí, the sleepy town that went from religious…

Chapter 6

How an MS13 Clique in El Salvador Took a Cocaine Corridor

COCAÍNA / 23 MAR 2021

On the El Salvador’s eastern border, a subtle transfer of power could have seismic consequences in the underworld.

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