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

BRAZIL / 30 MAR 2016

In this article -- the product of collaboration between IDL-Reporteros, Caretas, and La Prensa in Panama -- investigators analyze how…

HONDURAS / 31 AUG 2012

The US Department of State has announced that it will suspend aid to Honduran police units under the direct command…

COSTA RICA / 24 MAY 2018

Authorities in Costa Rica have arrested several members of a drug trafficking network led by former security officials, highlighting a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…