HomeNewsBriefArrests Add to Murky Picture of Crime-Politics Links in Honduras
BRIEF

Arrests Add to Murky Picture of Crime-Politics Links in Honduras

ELITES AND CRIME / 19 AUG 2015 BY SAM TABORY EN

Authorities in Guatemala have captured two suspects linked to an alleged criminal network run by a powerful political family from Honduras, the most recent development in a case indicative of the convoluted relationship between organized crime and politics in Central America.

On August 18, Guatemalan authorities -- using information from an undisclosed North American intelligence agency -- arrested Honduran nationals Juan Antonio Salgado Sarmientos and Alcides Moreira Zambrano, reported El Heraldo. The two men are suspected of providing financial support to Ivan Padilla, an alleged Honduran drug trafficker with links to a potential criminal network run by Honduras' Sarmiento family -- a well-known political and cattle ranching family.  

In July, Honduran police intelligence claimed to have evidence linking members of the Sarmiento family to criminal activities, including contract killing, kidnapping, arms trafficking, and drug trafficking. On July 8, Honduran authorities issued an Interpol alert for the capture of the head of the family, Ulises Sarmiento, and his son Javier Fabricio Sarmiento on charges of illegal gun possession. Neither have been captured.

Five days previously, however, on July 3, Ulises Sarmiento had been detained by Nicaraguan authorities, only to be released the next day. Ulises was in Nicaragua with members of his family seeking political asylum, claiming persecution for involvement with Honduras' opposition political party Libertad y Refundacion (LIBRE) and support for ex-President Manuel Zelaya.

InSight Crime Analysis

The unfolding saga surrounding the Sarmiento family is indicative of the convoluted relationship between politics and organized crime in Honduras. Sarmiento is thought to finance LIBRE, which is currently in a power struggle with the ruling National Party. 

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Indeed, the capture of suspected Sarmiento affiliates in Guatemala -- and the issuance of Interpol warrants for Ulises and his son -- could represent one of two things. One is that it is a move by political opponents of Ulises Sarmiento to upend a powerful opposition figure. However, it could also be a legitimate attempt by Honduran authorities to crack down on an alleged criminal network.

More likely than not, however, it is some combination of the two. Politics and crime have long mixed in Honduras, with the country's economic and political elites frequently found to be engaging in criminal activities.

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

ECUADOR / 7 OCT 2022

Any chance of peace between warring gangs in Ecuador appears to be defunct after another two massacres.

ELITES AND CRIME / 18 JAN 2023

The US trial of Genaro García Luna, the architect of Mexico's war on drugs, will seek to prove whether he…

ELITES AND CRIME / 4 OCT 2022

A high-profile prisoner swap raises hopes of improving US-Venezuela relations and abilities to tackle organized crime.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…