HomeNewsBriefMS13 in Honduras Gets Creative With Video Surveillance
BRIEF

MS13 in Honduras Gets Creative With Video Surveillance

HONDURAS / 13 JUL 2020 BY ANGELA OLAYA EN

An MS13 cell wired several Honduran neighborhoods on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula with surveillance cameras -- an inventive use of technology to perform an age-old gang function.

The monitoring system, consisting of nine cameras placed on store rooftops and electrical poles, was discovered in the city’s northern sector, police said in a news release. The cameras were connected to a router, allowing gang members to view the video streams on their tablets, phones and computers.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

The cameras were strategically placed to monitor “entrances and exits,” National Police spokesman Jair Meza told InSight Crime.

Parts of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-most populous city, have long been controlled by the Barrio 18 and MS13 street gangs, which run local drug and extortion rackets.

InSight Crime Analysis

Though this is not the first time authorities have discovered a video system controlled by the MS13, its routine use in several poor neighborhoods in San Pedro Sula is striking.

Video surveillance systems are common in wealthier areas of both San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital, and have previously been found in the homes of gang leaders for private security purposes, Meza said.

But for the gang to have placed cameras in marginal neighborhoods shows that the system enhanced gang surveillance in some way beyond the usual modus operandi of positioning young members as watchmen.

SEE ALSO: Mexico’s Cartels Building Custom-Made Narco Drones: DEA

The MS13, in fact, is believed to largely control the neighborhoods of Ocotillo, Suazo and El Merendón, where cameras were found. El Merendón is considered a sanctuary of the MS13's “Leeward Gangster” clique.

It is common for crime groups to adapt new technology to monitor authorities. In Mexico, for example, drones have been used to track patrols and traffic drugs on the US border.

The MS13 in Honduras has shown increased logistical capabilities of late. In February, the gang conducted a military-style operation to free one of its senior leaders, Alexander Mendoza, alias “El Porky," who escaped when heavily armed gunmen dressed in police fatigues stormed the courthouse where he awaited a hearing.

The creative use of the camera security systems is a sign that the gang is becoming more sophisticated in even its most basic function: territorial control.

Businesses were contracted to install the security equipment, Meza said. With it, the gang was able “to have total control to be able to carry out their illicit activities.”

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

HONDURAS / 25 JAN 2013

Facing an internal debt of approximately $3 billion, Honduras' government is struggling to maintain basic security services, with power cut…

ARGENTINA / 28 JAN 2020

Unrest gripped much of Latin America and the Caribbean throughout 2019. From record violence in Mexico that recalled the darkest…

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 FEB 2019

A judge lowered the sentence of a convicted Guatemalan drug trafficker in a US court on February 22, just weeks…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…