HomeNewsBriefHonduras Criminals Feed Migrants’ Growing Demand for Forged Documents

Honduras Criminals Feed Migrants’ Growing Demand for Forged Documents


A network of identity traffickers in Honduras may have sold forged documents to hundreds of immigrants from other continents, taking advantage of the fact that Latin America is increasingly being used as a route for trafficking people to the United States.

Two governmental agencies in Honduras, the Special Prosecutor for Transparency and the Fight Against Public Corruption (Fiscalía Especial para la Transparencia y Combate a la Corrupción Pública – FETCCOP) and the Technical Agency for Criminal Investigation (Agencia Técnica de Investigación Criminal – ATIC), arrested two people who were part of a network that operated within the National Registry of Persons (Registro Nacional de Personas – RNP).

The arrests took place as part of Operation Dragon IV, aimed at tackling a series of crimes across the country.

One of the individuals apprehended was Jorge Adalberto Discua Mejía, a former RNP employee from the city of Siguatepeque in Comayagua department. According to news outlet Proceso, at least 100 Palestinian and Syrian citizens had been entered into Siguatepeque’s municipal registry in an irregular manner and had paid “large sums of money” to obtain their Honduran identity cards.

Authorities also arrested Víctor Antonio Andrade, who worked at the RNP in La Ceiba, in the department of Atlántida. La Prensa reported that Andrade used information from death certificates to create false birth certificates and then sold them to immigrants.

Honduran authorities began noticing anomalies in the RNP in November 2017, according to Proceso. The irregularities led them to suspect that a network of registry employees was falsifying identification documents.

The investigations revealed that the birth certificates of deceased Honduran citizens and of those who did not claim their IDs were being used by immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to obtain Honduran passports. During Operation Dragon IV, authorities conducted inspections and followed up on the investigation.

According to Proceso, the FETCOOP and the ATIC are still investigating 60 cases associated with this identity trafficking network with the aim of eventually prosecuting them.

InSight Crime Analysis

Immigration to various Central American countries from other continents has increased considerably over the past two years. At the end of 2017, Proceso reported that the majority of immigrants entering Honduras came from Cuba and the continents of Africa and Asia.

A Honduran passport facilitates mobility among the Northern Triangle nations of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. It also helps immigrants avoid deportation back to their countries of origin, which would be a significant setback in their journeys. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has attempted to block even legal immigration from certain African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries to the United States, having labeled such migration a threat to national security.

The large number of immigrants from these countries who purchase Honduran identity documents may be the natural result of an increased use of Latin American routes into the United States. Caught between tougher immigration restrictions in both the United States and Europe — the latter having tightened up its immigration routes in response to the conflict-fueled refugee crisis — the citizens of countries with higher restrictions increasingly see Latin America as a viable gateway to the north.

A report by El País in 2016 found that immigrants from Africa were paying between $5,000 and $10,000 for human smugglers to transport them through Central America to the United States.

The discovery of a criminal network in Honduras that sells false identification documents comes at a time when demand for them has surged, which is precisely what such networks could be taking advantage of to increase their profits.

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.

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


Former Honduran Security Minister Alfredo Landaverde, an outspoken critic of police corruption and the influence of organized crime on politics,…


A group of armed men killed at least seven people after storming one of Guatemala's largest hospitals to free…


Due to a combination of factors, Honduras is on track to close out 2017 with a significantly lower homicide rate…

About InSight Crime


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.


InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area


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…


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…


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. …


InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas


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…