HomeNewsBriefHonduras' Valle Family Stole Huge Swaths of Land: Report
BRIEF

Honduras' Valle Family Stole Huge Swaths of Land: Report

HONDURAS / 8 FEB 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Evidence of land theft by the Honduras-based Valle family clan sheds light on the modus operandi of one of the country's most prominent drug trafficking groups.

The Valle family invaded hundreds of hectares of land in order to set up operational bases, according to a report by the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Organized Crime (Fiscalía Especial contra el Crimen Organizado - FESCCO), which was accessed by El Heraldo.

The drug trafficking organization illegally took possession of a number of properties in five municipalities in the department of Copán and one in the department of Santa Bárbara, both in northwest Honduras, the report stated.

Of the approximately 996 hectares seized, the organization does not possess title deeds for 714 hectares, or 28 plots of land, but does own title deeds for the remaining 283 hectares, or 14 plots.

The organization and its presumed frontmen allegedly have documents stating their rights to the seized land, however Honduras' Property Institution (Instituto de Propiedad - IP) does not have any records of the titles.

The seizure of the Valle organization's assets began in August 2014, after the US Treasury listed the group's leaders as drug traffickers.

SEE ALSO:  Valles Profile

According to the FESCCO report, a total of 88 properties were seized from the Valle family, including malls, hotels, gyms, houses, parking lots, hardware stores, and a cable television company. Of these, 30 have the corresponding documentation, while 58 do not.

Brothers Miguel Arnulfo, Luis Alonso and José Inocente -- who have been extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charges -- along with José Reynerio, who is on the run, and Digna Valle Valle, who has been prosecuted for cocaine trafficking in the United States, are demanding the restitution of the seized properties through their lawyers.

InSight Crime Analysis

It would seem that the seized lands -- situated in the border region with Guatemala, which is the main region in which the organization operated -- were being used as a base for the group's drug trafficking activities. The Valles family was once thought to move 10 tons of cocaine a month through Honduras, as a link between Colombian, Guatemalan and Mexican criminal groups.

Invading land, or acquiring land with illicit proceeds, is a common trait among drug trafficking organizations, including the Cachiros, the other main transport group in Honduras. In Colombia, the problem is particularly prominent, with criminal groups taking advantage of low land taxes to launder money through the properties. Owning swathes of land can equate to both economic strength and political leverage.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Money Laundering

The seizure of the Valles' lands could be another tough blow to the group, which has seen its leadership and finances greatly weakened in recent years. It is thought that these recent crackdowns are a result of mounting pressure from the United States and the Honduran government's less complacent attitude towards criminals that were untouchable in the past.

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

EL SALVADOR / 2 APR 2021

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has appointed a new security minister whose alleged ties to officials and political operators accused…

BRAZIL / 22 NOV 2021

For the last few weeks, the twists and turns in the case of the Pharaoh of Bitcoins have constantly made…

HONDURAS / 15 FEB 2021

Honduras, long one of the poorest countries in Latin America, is now also among the most violent and crime-ridden. The…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…