HomeNewsBriefHonduras Transport Companies Complicit in Extortion Schemes
BRIEF

Honduras Transport Companies Complicit in Extortion Schemes

BARRIO 18 / 27 APR 2016 BY SAM TABORY EN

Police in Honduras say transportation operators are often complicit in the extortion rings that exploit their own drivers, showing how the range of actors involved in these schemes extends beyond the "mara" gangs that draw the attentions of the security forces. 

Representatives of the Anti-Extortion Unit of the National Police in Honduras (Fuerza Nacional Antiextorsión - FNA) have said that some transportation owners and operators cooperate with gangs in extorting their colleagues making it harder to detect and dismantle the schemes, reported La Prensa. The FNA says that complicity in extortion rackets also extends to members of the police, military, and other public officials. 

Since the FNA was established in 2013, the unit has arrested more than 2000 people for extortion related crimes. While the vast majority have been connected to the street gangs known as "maras," those arrested have also included prison officials, telecommunications workers, police officers, and members of the military. 

Authorities believe mara gangs are responsible for around 80 percent of extortion of transport networks. Although the country's two most infamous gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18, are the dominant actors in the racket, the FNA has also identified four smaller gangs that control territory and operate active transport extortion rings in Honduras' capital Tegucigalpa: Los Chirizos, Los Benjamines, "El combo que no se deja," and La Mafia. 

InSight Crime Analysis  

Extortion of transport networks in Honduras is worth $27 million a year, according to government estimates, and as the FNA develops a more complete picture of who is involved in these rackets it is becoming clear the country's main gangs are not the only ones taking their cut of this money.

While gangs drive much of the actual collection and enforcement efforts, carrying out attacks and executions when payment is not made, it is also clear that their operations rely on the collaboration of insiders at transportation networks as well as the collusion of corrupt security forces and public officials, and the role of such actors should not be ignored in investigations.

In addition, it is important to note the MS13 and Barrio 18 are not the only gangs involved in extortion as if all eyes are on these groups, smaller rivals could flourish.

In February 2016, for example, authorities in Honduras launched a security offensive known as "Operation Avalanche" that specifically targets MS13 extortion networks. If such operations succeed in diminishing the MS13's capacity to operate, this may not lead to a drop in extortion, but instead the strengthening of the gang's rivals, who could take advantage of authorities' diverted attention and the MS13's troubles to expand their own operations and territorial control. 

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 / 1 MAR 2022

Fired prison employees in El Salvador have claimed they witnessed negotiations among government officials and imprisoned gang leaders, adding weight…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

COCAINE / 16 FEB 2021

In Copán – a major transit point for cocaine – drug trafficking groups collaborate with local authorities to smuggle narcotics over the department’s porous western border with Guatemala.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.