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

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

BARRIO 18 / 20 SEP 2017

Officers of El Salvador's national police are allegedly running "clandestine jails" where they illegally hold suspected gang members, another indication…

ARGENTINA / 28 FEB 2017

Three Chinese mafias are reportedly vying for criminal dominance following the capture of the leader of the most powerful mafia…

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 JUL 2017

A former presidential candidate, who was also a minister during the administration of jailed former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…