HomeNewsBriefHonduras Gang Evolution Spurred by Transnational Crime
BRIEF

Honduras Gang Evolution Spurred by Transnational Crime

BARRIO 18 / 8 AUG 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Honduras local crime syndicates, like Barrio 18 and the Chirizos gang, are growing in sophistication thanks in part to the presence of transnational organized crime and the nation's position as one of the principal handover points for cocaine shipments.

According to anonymous law enforcement sources consulted by El Heraldo, recent investigations have provided authorities with information on the increasing professionalization of both the Barrio 18 and the Chirizos gang.

The Barrio 18 reportedly counts lawyers, architects, and engineers among its members, and employs its own medical team. The architects and engineers are allegedly responsible for choosing houses the gang can use for operations -- whose rightful owners are summarily forced to leave -- and remodeling prison cells to make them more comfortable for incarcerated members, which in the case of members with children includes the construction of play areas.  

The Chirizos also allegedly rely on professionals to facilitate illegal activities, including the management of the group's finances. The gang -- whose members mainly started out as lookouts and drug couriers for other criminal groups -- has allegedly become a major player in the city of Comayaguela under the patronage of drug trafficking organizations. According to investigations, the Chirizos rely mainly on extortion, drug sales and assassination services to generate revenue, and help their patrons launder money through a variety of commercial activities.

InSight Crime Analysis

Numerous countries in the region have seen transnational criminal organizations facilitate the growth and sophistication of local criminal groups, often by hiring them to guard and transport drug shipments or carry out targeted assassinations, as well as by spurring the growth of a domestic drug market. 

This appears to be the case in Honduras, which has become a major transit nation for drug shipments following a 2009 coup that weakened the state's ability to fight crime. An estimated 140 to 300 tons of cocaine pass through the country annually, and according to 2012 US State Department estimates, 75 percent of all drug flights heading north from South America use Honduras as an air bridge.

SEE ALSO: Barrio 18 Profile

As a result of increased drug trafficking activity, Honduras has seen powerful transnational organizations like Mexico's Zetas and Sinaloa Cartel establish a presence in the country. In addition to spurring the development of local criminal groups, transnational syndicates have contributed to the country's elevated murder rate, which 2012 figures indicated was the highest of any country in the world outside a war zone.  

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

BARRIO 18 / 29 JAN 2021

It was one of Alejandro Giammattei’s most emphatic promises. One year later, the Interior Ministry supported his strategy to reduce…

COCA / 19 APR 2022

Coca farms and cocaine production camps are proliferating in Honduras, showing that the illicit crop has taken root in the…

COCAINE / 16 FEB 2021

Cortés is a major organized crime hub. Vast quantities of drugs, arms, and contraband pass through the department’s busy Atlantic…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…