HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Extortion Generates $61 Mn A Year: Govt
BRIEF

Guatemala Extortion Generates $61 Mn A Year: Govt

EXTORTION / 18 JUL 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Guatemala estimate criminals make around $61 million a year from extortion, a figure that illustrates the extent to which this crime impacts businesses and families.  

According to figures compiled by Guatemala's Interior Ministry, the biggest earners for criminals dedicated to extortion are the public transport sector and small businesses, each of which brings in around $23 million a year, reported Siglo 21. Extorting local families earns criminals an additional $2.6 million. The $61 million figure also includes around $4 million in profits obtained from "express kidnappings" -- in which the victim is held hostage for a short period of time.

While gangs are responsible for an estimated 35 percent of extortion in the country, the other 65 percent is carried out by other criminal actors that the government referred to as "opportunists." A total of 74 criminal groups engaged in extortion have been dismantled since 2011, and 250 people have been arrested for this crime.

The three Guatemalan municipalities most affected by extortion are Guatemala City, Mixco and Villa Nueva.

InSight Crime Analysis

Extortion in an endemic problem in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, where gangs make a large portion of their income from this crime.

Transportation companies and small businesses in the region have been especially hard-hit by extortion. Around 70 percent of El Salvador's small businesses have been victims of gang extortion, a phenomenon that has caused an average of two businesses a week to close down, according to the country's National Council for Small Businesses. In Honduras, criminal groups earn more than $27 million a year from extorting the transport sector.

The crime can easily turn deadly. In Honduras, 153 taxi drivers were killed between 2012 and 2014 in violent confrontations, while in Guatemala, murders of public transport drivers doubled in the first half of 2013.

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

The most recent Guatemala figures indicate that, while street gangs are often blamed for the bulk of extortion, other criminal actors also play a significant role. However, it is possible they do so only with the blessing of the gangs: a February case revealed that some extortion groups in Guatemala were paying part of their profits to the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), the country's two principal gangs, in order to operate.

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

GUATEMALA / 1 JUL 2015

Guatemala's Constitutional Court rejected a petition that would have granted at least a temporary reprieve to President Otto Perez Molina…

EL SALVADOR / 18 MAR 2015

Rudy Giuliani -- the former New York City mayor touted as the mind behind a dramatic drop in crime in…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 18 FEB 2020

Social leaders across Colombia were murdered at an almost unprecedented rate in 2019, and for a wide range of causes.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…