HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Gangs Expecting 'Xmas Bonus' From Bus Drivers
BRIEF

Guatemala Gangs Expecting 'Xmas Bonus' From Bus Drivers

BARRIO 18 / 12 NOV 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

The president of Guatemala's association of transport workers complained last week that some criminal groups are demanding that bus companies pay an extra extortion tax before mid-December, in addition to the quotas that drivers already pay.

Edgar Guerra, the president of the association, made the comments during a press conference on November 3. Transport company owners already pay an average of 150 to 400 quetzales (about $19 to $51) in extortion fees per week to the "cliques" that make up the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs, he said. Now some companies are being pressured to pay an even higher extortion tax per bus during December, when employees traditionally collect their "aguinaldo" or Christmas bonus -- an additional full salary paid to workers at the end of the year.  

Gangs in one neighborhood in Guatemala City are asking the local bus company to pay an extra 1,000 quetzales (about $128) per bus before December 15, according to Prensa Libre

The head of a government anti-extortion task force told Mexican newspaper El Universal that these demands for holiday bonuses are nothing new, and that the gangs have been collecting such payments since at least 2008. 

 InSight Crime Analysis 

Bus extortion is easy, low-risk, and highly profitable for street gangs, which helps explain why criminal groups run such rackets from Guatemala to Medellin, Colombia. During last week's press conference, Guerra highlighted just how much money is at stake for the MS-13 and Barrio 18 cliques from the transport business: there are 2,500 urban buses in Guatemala and 13,000 buses serving rural routes, as well as up to 5,000 unofficial countryside buses, the majority of them paying up to 400 quetzales (about $51) per week in extortion fees to criminal groups. 

Extortion has made the transport industry one of the most dangerous in Guatemala. According to Guerra, so far in 2012, 49 bus drivers, 38 cab drivers, and 43 motorcycle taxi drivers have been killed in the country. September saw three bus drivers gunned down in a single day

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

BARRIO 18 / 3 SEP 2014

Police in Honduras say they have decoded the symbolic meanings of common tattoos used by the country's "mara" street gangs,…

GUATEMALA / 12 NOV 2010

In a phenomenon that appears to mirror that of Mexico’s, 47 Guatemalan police have been killed already this year, the Prensa…

GUATEMALA / 30 JUN 2016

Authorities across Central America have dismantled a migrant smuggling network that spanned from Brazil to Mexico, a remarkable sting operation…

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…