HomeNewsBriefCentAm Gangs Selling Drug Trafficking Services on Dark Web: UN Official
BRIEF

CentAm Gangs Selling Drug Trafficking Services on Dark Web: UN Official

COCA / 20 JUN 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

A UN official stated that Central American gangs are strengthening their ties with transnational drug trafficking groups, in some cases using the dark web, raising questions about the potentially evolving role of Central American gangs in the transnational drug trade.

Amado Philip de Andrés, the representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Central America and the Caribbean, warned that Central American gangs are playing an increasingly active role in trafficking cocaine and laundering money, in part through the use of the dark web, EFE reported.

Through postings on the dark web, an encrypted and anonymous part of the internet, Central American gangs offer their services and are contracted to transport illicit shipments for drug trafficking groups, according to de Andrés.

For payment, the gangs allegedly receive a fixed rate instead of a percentage of the value of the drugs being transported. Payments are reportedly made in bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency that offers users anonymity.

De Andrés linked the development of ties between transnational groups and Central America’s gangs to Colombia’s booming production of cocaine.

“When you have between 200 and 350 additional tons of cocaine of great purity, of more than 70 percent, a greater confluence exists between maras, gangs and the drug traffickers’ intermediaries,” he said.

InSight Crime Analysis

The UN official’s comments add weight to arguments that others have previously made warning that Central American gangs are increasing their ties with transnational trafficking groups. And their alleged use of the dark web suggests that they are becoming more sophisticated, particularly in terms of technology, which could also be a function of increased contact with transnational criminal organizations.

However, the specific relationship between Central America’s gangs and transnational groups remains unclear. On one hand, there is evidence to support the claim that Central American gangs are indeed evolving into bigger players in the transnational drug trade. Some argue that increased revenues from growing involvement in cocaine trafficking are helping the gangs to increase in sophistication. In addition to their reported use of the dark web, gangs in El Salvador are now capable of falsifying maritime cargo container seals, another potential sign of their ties to international trafficking groups and their growing sophistication.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

Still, there are significant disagreements and gaps in knowledge regarding what is known about the involvement of Central American gangs in transnational drug trafficking. For example, the US government designated El Salvador’s most prominent gang, the MS13, as a transnational drug trafficking organization in 2012. On the other hand, El Salvador Vice President Óscar Ortiz recently told La Prensa Gráfica that ties between drug traffickers and the country’s gangs are indeed “a threat,” but he assured that the gangs “have not made that step yet.”

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.

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 / 13 OCT 2016

A new report seems to indicate that various branches of the MS13 gang in El Salvador attempted to pool their…

COLOMBIA / 9 FEB 2018

A new analysis suggests the US congress is poised to push back against President Donald Trump’s proposals for massive cuts…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 15 APR 2014

A leading candidate in Panama's upcoming presidential elections has been accused of receiving funds from bank accounts allegedly used to…

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…