HomeNewsBrief400 Arrests This Year as Honduras Cracks Down on Extortion
BRIEF

400 Arrests This Year as Honduras Cracks Down on Extortion

BARRIO 18 / 18 AUG 2016 BY LUIS FERNANDO ALONSO EN

Data released by a special Honduras police unit formed to combat extortion indicates the country is making progress against an illegal industry responsible for many deaths and massive economic losses.

The National Anti-Extortion Force (Fuerza Nacional Antiextorsión - FNA) said it had arrested 404 people for extorting of public and private transportation organizations, a common target of gangs throughout Central America, La Tribuna reported. The paper said adult males made up 77.5 percent of those captured while minors -- who are often used to deliver threats and payment instructions -- accounted for 11.4 percent and another 11.1 percent of those taken into custody were adult females.

The FNA reportedly has received a total of 600 complaints this year. Of that number, 221 cases went to court, resulting in 168 convictions. That is a 76 percent conviction rate.

An FNA spokesman quoted by La Tribuna said the majority of those affected by extortion are public transportation groups or private providers of transportation. These victims are often intimidated and threatened with death by various criminal bands, including gang members from MS-13 and Barrio 18.

InSight Crime Analysis

Extortion is a huge issue that continues to plague the Central American countries of the Northern Triangle -- El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Just this week a government investigator in Guatemala was murdered near a market where vendors had begun to publicly protest extortion.

While extortion continues to plague the region, it appears that the Honduran Government is now taking a tougher approach to the crime, recognizing the political and economic toll it is having on the population of the Central American nation.

    SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

The Honduras’ National Human Rights Commission (Conadeh) has attributed the deaths of hundreds of transportation workers to the work of extortionists groups. In addition to this deadly toll, the FNA estimates that extortion costs Honduras $200 million per year. For a country whose gross domestic product is only about $20 billion, that figure represents about 1 percent of the total economy.

These figures are not small amounts for a nation beset by poverty and also plagued by corruption. One former social security director there has been accused of embezzling $300 million.

While criminal groups such as gangs are often behind extortion rackets, the FNA has previously said that soldiers, police, government officials and even the transportation companies themselves are active participants in extortion rackets. But it appears that the FNA is making inroads in countering the malicious practice which is taking a devastating toll on common Honduran citizens.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCA / 26 MAY 2017

Authorities have located coca plantations in Honduras, a sign that the Central American nation could be evolving from its traditional…

BARRIO 18 / 11 JUL 2016

El Salvador’s three main gangs have moved toward forming a common front with a coordinating committee and a nonaggression pact…

EL SALVADOR / 29 NOV 2012

US authorities defend their decision to impose financial sanctions against the Mara Salvatrucha, a surprise move that was…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…