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

ELITES AND CRIME / 18 MAY 2022

Guatemala has reappointed Attorney General Consuelo Porras for a second term despite her track record as a shield for top…

ELITES AND CRIME / 13 JUL 2018

Guatemala’s president has been waging a battle against the country’s international anti-graft commission, and that battle has made it to…

GUATEMALA / 18 SEP 2013

Guatemalan authorities have captured the son of a prominent drug trafficker due to be extradited to the United States, as…

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…