HomeNewsBriefNew Allegations Highlight Continuing Corruption in Honduras Police
BRIEF

New Allegations Highlight Continuing Corruption in Honduras Police

HONDURAS / 12 JAN 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

Authorities in Honduras have dismantled several networks of allegedly corrupt law enforcement officers, a positive sign for the country's efforts to purge its police institution but also a reminder of the depth and breadth of corruption in the force.

Thirteen out of the total of 67 officials allegedly on the payroll of the powerful MS13 gang were high-ranking members of the police, La Prensa reported based on official information from a joint investigation by Honduras, the United States and Colombia. Among the accused are a general, two general commissioners and four sub-commissioners.

The officers were reportedly involved in extortion, murder, bank robberies, auto theft, kidnapping and drug trafficking. The joint investigation also unearthed a network of 28 officials who would allegedly delete gang members' records and provide them with driving licenses bearing fake names for prices ranging between 10,000 and 14,000 Lempiras (equivalent to between roughly $420 and $630).

The same joint investigation also alleged that dozens of police officers trafficked hundreds of firearms to the gangs between 2012 and 2016, according to a separate La Prensa article. And once again, authorities assert that the corruption reached the highest levels of the police institution, with high-ranking officers turning a blind eye to the weapons trafficking.

On January 11, just days after the revelations by La Prensa, a special police reform commission established last year fired 490 police officers for failing confidence examinations, El Heraldo reported.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the investigation and firing of hundreds of officers serve as further positive signs of progress in cleaning up the country's law enforcement institutions, the allegations of continuing high-level corruption in the police highlight the magnitude of the issue and the considerable challenges that remain.

One major challenge is finding suitable replacements for officers removed from the force. Authorities plan to double the size of the national police by 2022, and as InSight Crime previously pointed out, this goal will be difficult to achieve due to resource constraints. Additionally, the ambitious effort could actually exacerbate corruption in the force if new recruits are not properly vetted and trained.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

Moreover, the police reform commission's mandate does not include prosecuting officers dismissed for corruption. Honduras' justice system is thus facing a sizeable number of corruption cases that it will have to try in order to hold corrupt officials to account, and there are reasonable doubts as to the judiciary's capacity to do so. By September 2016 and within six month of its existence, the commission had already referred 500 police corruption cases to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution. In the absence of convictions, however, there is a risk that the dismissed police officers could be re-hired or simply join the ranks of organized crime.

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

ECUADOR / 30 APR 2012

Ecuador's government is planning to increase the armed forces' involvement in law enforcement, a move which, although a practical response…

BELIZE / 28 SEP 2011

This report outlines a series of actions by the U.S. government in order to face violence in Central America.

EXTORTION / 30 APR 2019

Honduras’ private sector, under the banner of regional chambers of commerce, joined forces with the country’s elite anti-extortion unit in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…