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.

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

EL SALVADOR / 22 FEB 2018

A new survey says that despite some advances made in recent years, Latin America and the Caribbean continue to…

HONDURAS / 8 SEP 2012

Honduras announced it had destroyed 51 airstrips used for drug trafficking flights in recent months, underscoring the country's importance as…

EL SALVADOR / 4 DEC 2015

Former El Salvador President Francisco Flores has been ordered to stand trial on corruption charges, adding to the lengthy list…

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…