HomeNewsBriefHonduras Launches Offensive Against Gang Extortion of Bus Drivers
BRIEF

Honduras Launches Offensive Against Gang Extortion of Bus Drivers

EXTORTION / 8 MAR 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Honduras' security forces have begun an operation to increase security for bus and taxi drivers who are targeted for extortion by urban gangs -- a problem that affects countries across the region.

According to Armed Forces Chief of Staff Rene Osorio Canales, some 100 military and police personnel have been deployed in the operation in Tegucigalpa, protecting bus stations and taxi points. Since there are not enough soldiers and policemen to patrol every route, authorities will focus on the eight routes designated as the most dangerous, before expanding the program in a few months, reports La Tribuna.

Extortion by gangs, who threaten drivers with death if they do not pay, has previously caused the closure of some bus stations in the city.

InSight Crime Analysis

Bus companies are particularly vulnerable to extortion, as they handle large amounts of cash and their representives, the drivers, are highly visible and easy to target as they go about their work. As InSight Crime reported last year, more than 500 bus drivers were killed in Guatemala between 2007 and 2011, making it arguably the most dangerous job in the world.

In El Salvador, drivers on some of the major bus routes around San Salvador recently called strikes to demand that the authorities protect them from extortion attacks. Some 635 drivers were reportedly killed between 2006 and early 2011. One suggested solution was for passengers to buy their tickets via prepaid cards, so that drivers would carry less money on them.

The Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs are thought to be responsible for much of the extortion of drivers in these Central American countries.

In Medellin, Colombia, some 80 percent of buses reportedly make extortion payments, facing assassination and arson attacks if they do not.

Honduras' action against this region-wide issue follows an announcement that it would double prison terms for extortion.

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 / 26 APR 2019

The variety of extortionists in Central America speaks to the ease with which opportunists can set up their own schemes.

HONDURAS / 31 OCT 2014

A recent report from Honduras revealed how alleged criminals are arrested and released numerous times without ever going to trial,…

HONDURAS / 22 AUG 2016

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández announced that he is requesting congressional approval for a new military cooperation agreement with Israel,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.