HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Moves to Deter Eco-Trafficking

Guatemala Moves to Deter Eco-Trafficking


Guatemalan authorities are set to enforce stricter airport security measures in hopes of better combating eco-trafficking, or the smuggling of endangered plants and animals to the U.S. and Europe.

According to InfoSur Hoy, the Guatemalan security forces are preparing to tighten border controls, increase inter-agency coordination and set up a special security office at the international airport, in order to deter the smuggling of endangered species from the country.

Trafficking of endangered species is a lucrative business in Guatemala and across Central America, and can sometimes be more lucrative than arms or human trafficking. Estimates by Interpol say the global trade generates up to $20 billion in profits a year. Exotic animals smuggled from the region often sold to pet stores, private zoos or laboratories for experimentation in the U.S.

In Guatemala, logging, illegal fisheries and the theft of rare artefacts are all trades which support smugglers, who often prey on the poorest and most isolated areas. Posing as students or scientists, the smugglers reportedly offer $60 to $120 per species to poor residents in these areas. While the fee may be the equivalent to two months pay for the collector, the smuggler can sell the same species for as much as $5,000. 

According to the head of Guatemala's wildlife agency, shipments of endangered or protected species can net traffickers as much as $50,000.

So far this year 20 suspects have been detained in Guatemala for attempted eco-trafficking. 

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.


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.


Related Content


At a meeting of Central American leaders this weekend, Guatemala's President Otto Perez failed to win consensus for concrete proposals…

BRAZIL / 3 FEB 2020

The case of an infamous Irish trafficker who is facing extradition to Brazil for stealing peregrine falcon eggs has brought…


Corruption in Guatemala's prisons has created a prison black market where everything from cell phones to prison transfers are for…

About InSight Crime


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,…


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…


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…


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…


Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…