HomeNewsBriefHonduras Transport Extortion Generates $27 Mn Annually: Govt
BRIEF

Honduras Transport Extortion Generates $27 Mn Annually: Govt

EXTORTION / 18 FEB 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

New government studies have revealed extortion of Honduras’ transport sector earns criminal groups more than $27 million each year, highlighting the extent of a crime that pervades Central America.

Studies conducted by the Honduran Security Ministry found that over 15,000 buses and taxis in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, which are extorted and forced to pay a so-called “war tax,” contribute an estimated $27.4 million to criminal organizations, reported El Heraldo.

The size of these profits has reportedly made extortion one of the most lucrative enterprises in Honduras, with the crime costing the transportation sector over $1.2 million monthly in the Honduran Central District — Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela — and over $1 million per month in San Pedro Sula. The investigation found owners of bus companies in these two places pay a daily rate of $15 to $30 per bus.

Transportation workers in Tegucigalpa recently went on strike to demand government action in the face of rising extortion. Workers told El Heraldo they asked the Security Ministry for support, but that the state advised them to continue paying the fees until a solution is found.

In the past four years at least 350 transportation sector employees have been killed, with 80 percent of these deaths related to extortion payments, reported El Heraldo.

InSight Crime Analysis

Transport extortion is part of a wider phenomenon that has devastating economic and social consequences in Honduras. Gangs in Tegucigalpa were estimated to extort $15 per week from the city’s 14,000 street vendors and kiosks in 2013, and contributed to the closure of an estimated 17,500 businesses in a year.

Extortion is also a major source of profit for gangs in Honduras’ “Northern Triangle” neighbors — Guatemala and El Salvador. In El Salvador, around 70 percent of small businesses have reported being extorted, and the activity earns gangs almost $1.5 million per month. Criminal groups also frequently target Guatemala’s transportation sector and, as in Honduras, there are regular reports of transport workers being killed.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extortion

The crime has proved difficult for Northern Triangle governments to combat. A program that placed undercover officers on El Salvador’s buses was halted last year due to a lack of funds. In Honduras, attempts to tackle bus extortion with patrols have shown few results.

New Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has pledged to be tough on crime, but the question remains of whether he will more successfully address this rampant problem than his predecessor.

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.

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 5 AUG 2013

Murders in Honduras have increased since the Barrio 18 and MS-13 gangs agreed to a truce, according to the latest…

BARRIO 18 / 25 JUL 2013

A key witness disappeared during the trial of several Barrio 18 gang members accused of carrying out a massacre, in…

CACHIROS / 28 SEP 2017

Authorities in Honduras have reportedly seized millions of dollars worth of property linked to the Cachiros drug trafficking network, in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

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

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

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…

BRIEF

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…

ANALYSIS

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. …

ANALYSIS

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

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

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…