HomeNewsBriefHonduras Arrest Highlights Importance of Being Mayor
BRIEF

Honduras Arrest Highlights Importance of Being Mayor

ELITES AND CRIME / 26 OCT 2015 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

The arrest of a mayor in Honduras on charges of multiple homicide draws attention to the larger regional problem of corruption among local officials, one boosted by the increase in power of these municipal governments.

Jose Adalid Gonzalez, the mayor of Sulaco in north-central Honduras, was detained on October 22 for heading a criminal organization named "Los Banegas," reported El Heraldo

"Los Banegas" is suspected of a number of crimes including multiple murders between 2010 and 2013, land and cattle theft and the assault of transport vehicles. La Prensa says Honduran authorities have begun exhuming the bodies of their victims to gather evidence against the group. 

The mayor himself also stands accused of the murders of Secundino Orellana Romero and Medardo Anselmo Romero Ramos, news reports say. Orellano Romero was killed in June 2013 in an exchange of fire with the mayor and his men, according to investigations. Witnesses claim the mayor had a Mini-Uzi, while his bodyguards were armed with pistols. Romeo Ramos was killed months later in front of dozens of witnesses, reportedly on the mayor's orders.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Over 200 police agents arrested the mayor after months of investigation. Seven other members of the criminal group were apprehended three months ago.

Gonzalez is the second mayor of the Yoro province in north-central Honduras to be arrested for alleged criminal activity. Arnaldo Urbina Soto, also of the National Party, was captured in July 2014 for heading a gang dedicated to drug trafficking and murder, among other crimes.

InSight Crime Analysis

Latin America has a rising number of crooked local officials participating in -- or even leading -- criminal organizations.

Behind this is a major shift in national power distribution. The growing decentralization of authority in these countries has handed local governors more control over budget and security forces, which has placed the mayoral seat in the sights of illegal groups: mayors are being targeted by illegal groups and co-opted into becoming criminals; or criminals are running for mayor and winning.

This trend was perhaps most brutally exposed recently with the discovery that the mayor of Iguala, Mexico, and his wife were the figureheads of Guerreros Unidos -- a local group accused of carrying out the disappearance and presumed killing of 43 students in September 2014.

In Colombia, the interweaving of crime and local governance was seen only last Sunday in the ironic case of a candidate who was voted in as mayor from behind bars.

But the result of the coveted value of this local seat is not only the criminalization of officials. It has also entailed an increase in violent attacks on mayors. This month alone has seen a Honduran mayor tortured and killed, as well as the murder of mayors in PeruGuatemala, and Brazil.

While Colombia began the decentralization of its government in the 1980s, in Honduras this process began in the 1990s and continues to receive further momentum, which may only enhance the importance of being mayor.

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 / 15 FEB 2021

The violent death of nursing student Keyla Patricia Martínez Rodríguez while in police custody in Honduras recalls the worst accusations…

COCAINE / 18 MAY 2022

The jungle region known as La Mosquitia in northeast Honduras has been an ideal corridor for international drug trafficking. However,…

COVID AND CRIME / 10 MAY 2021

With a new law granting immunity to El Salvador officials accused of mismanaging coronavirus funds and the resignation of a…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…