HomeNewsMS13 Profits From Marijuana Boom in Honduras
NEWS

MS13 Profits From Marijuana Boom in Honduras

HONDURAS / 11 NOV 2021 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

Honduras has seen a surge in marijuana seizures and plantations, indicating a booming trade in illegal cannabis that stands to benefit the country’s largest street gang. 

The latest seizure occurred when anti-drug agents intercepted a pickup carrying a load of gypsum board cut to conceal 1,000 packages of marijuana. The truck was stopped in Choluteca, some 150 miles from the country’s capital of Tegucigalpa, according to a November 8 news release from security officials.

The haul came after two weeks at the end of October when agents stopped four trucks smuggling large amounts of cannabis, including two separate pickups carrying mattresses stuffed with about 1,000 pounds of the drug. One truck was intercepted in a town 30 miles south of San Pedro Sula; the other was stopped on a highway near the Pacific coast.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profile

In Yoro, a city east of San Pedro Sula, agents discovered more than 600 marijuana packages crammed into furniture being hauled by a pickup. They also uncovered 55 sacks of the drug concealed by metal soldered to the back of a tractor-trailer’s cabin.

According to figures provided to Proceso Digital, security forces have seized 23,500 pounds of marijuana between January and October of this year. A spokesman for Honduras’ Anti-Drug Police (La Direccion Nacional Policial Antidrogas – DNPA) told the news outlet that its officers had seized nearly 10,700 pounds of marijuana by the end of October, a massive jump from the 2,000 pounds taken during 2020.

Cannabis crops also appear to be on the rise, with security forces destroying some 150,000 plants this year, nearly double the amount eradicated in 2020. from Plantations are concentrated in northern departments along Honduras’ Caribbean coast, particularly Colón, where some 40,000 plants were eradicated in August.

Remote hillsides in the municipality of Tocoa were the site of some of the largest plantations, including one with 2,500 plants and another that had a separate encampment for drying and packaging. At the end of October, agents destroyed 4,500 plants in the same mountain region.

The departments of Francisco Morazán, Olancho, Yoro and Colón form a central corridor for marijuana, retired coronel Agustín Avelar told Proceso Digital.

InSight Crime Analysis

The surge in marijuana production is likely being driven by demand in Honduras’ consumer market – a market increasingly dominated by the MS13 street gang.

Marijuana has long been cultivated in Honduras but has seen a boom in recent years. The country’s Inter-institutional Security Force (Fuerza de Seguridad Interinstitucional Nacional – Fusina) reported seizing some 17,000 pounds of marijuana in 2017. A Fusina official warned then that cannabis was being cultivated and processed in mountain regions, after which it was then transported to cities, where it was packaged and laced with other drugs, including cocaine. The potent marijuana was sold on the street as “krippy kush, cripy or krispy.”

SEE ALSO: Is the MS13 in Honduras Expanding its Role in the Regional Drug Trade?

The northern city of San Pedro Sula has become a hotspot for the sale and movement of this high-octane product. While it’s unclear what chemicals or substances are in the latest street variants of krispy, the market for it has grown enormously, said Douglas Farah, the president of the national security consulting firm IBI Consultants.

Crack and cocaine are currently scarce, which means there’s “a lot of marijuana sales,” Farah told InSight Crime. And the MS13 has a monopoly.

“Krispy is theirs, and marijuana is theirs,” he said. “They own the full product line.”

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

FENTANYL / 16 NOV 2022

Mexico’s two most powerful organized crime groups are reportedly sourcing precursor chemicals from the same suppliers to produce fentanyl.

BARRIO 18 / 26 DEC 2022

El Salvador's ruthless gang crackdown has led to mass incarceration and human rights abuses. But will it be replicated elsewhere?…

EL SALVADOR / 11 MAY 2021

A new report suggests women are increasingly playing an active role in the extortion activities of Central American gangs --…

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…