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Honduras Busts 'Sinaloa Cartel' Drug Network

HONDURAS / 26 NOV 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Honduran officials dismantled a network involved in synthetic drug production that is reportedly linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, seizing some $100 million in assets.

On November 24, agents from Honduras’ anti-narcotics agency DLCN arrested seven people in a raid against the organization, reported El Heraldo.

DLCN spokesman Carlos Vallecillo said the seizures were some of the biggest to be made against organized crime in Honduras in the last decade, reported Reuters.

According to Vallecillo, some 83 arrest warrants issued as part of the operation are still outstanding, against individuals from countries including Mexico, Honduras, Colombia and Guatemala.

The operation was carried out across 24 sites in the north of the country, seizing goods including some 700 head of cattle and 144 vehicles. Among those arrested were a local police sub-commissioner and two Colombian pilots.

InSight Crime Analysis

El Heraldo reported that the group was linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, though Honduran officials have yet to publicly confirm this.

It is highly plausible that the drug network was connected to the Mexican criminal organization. Reports emerged early last year that Mexican gangs were increasing their presence in Honduras, with the Sinaloa Cartel being one of the main organizations active in the country. Mexican newspaper El Universal reported in August that Sinaloa boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman used Honduras as a base for his cartel’s operations, and might occasionally hide out in the country.

The Sinaloa Cartel is a key player in Central America’s methamphetamine trade, havingshifted its production south in response to pressure from the authorities. 

Honduras is still not as important a production site for methamphetamine as Guatemala or Mexico. The seizure earlier this year of $6 million worth of meth precursor chemicals heading to the country, however, indicates that its importance in the trade may be increasing.

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