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Nicaragua

Nicaragua has long been one of the least violent countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although some local gangs and at least one transnational criminal organization have a foothold there, so far the country has not experienced the high homicide rates common in its Central American neighbors.

Latest News

GameChangers 2021: US Losing War on Corruption in Central America

NEWS / 30 DEC 2021

The United States, under the Biden administration, was supposed to help curb corruption, but for corrupt officials in Central America, life has rarely looked better.

Costa Rica's Devil - Bloody Drug Feud Catches Authorities Off Guard

NEWS / 24 NOV 2021

An unusually drawn-out feud between two rival gangs in northern Costa Rica has left over 150 people dead in five years, with authorities making a renewed push to end the…

Colombia's San Andrés Losing Battle Against Illegal Fishing

NEWS / 17 NOV 2021

As Colombia and Nicaragua continue battling over fishing rights and policing around the Caribbean archipelago of San Andrés, its waters have become vulnerable to illegal fishing from vessels across the…

Nicaragua Profile

Criminal Actors

Armed Groups

Nicaragua has largely avoided the permanent presence of transnational criminal groups, but this has not prevented such actors from using the strategically located Central American nation as a launchpad to transport drugs to the United States. In place of well-defined criminal structures, homegrown armed groups provide key transport services while also engaging in a variety of criminal activities, from illegal logging to animal smuggling and cattle rustling. Official corruption emanates from the highest levels of government.

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Personalities

Francisco Zeledon

FRANCISCO ZELEDON / 2017-03-09 21:34:20

Francisco, or Frank, Zeledon, allegedly runs a drug trafficking network from the city of Bluefields on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. He is best known in the region as a businessman, landowner…

Amauri Carmona Morelos

AMAURI CARMONA MORELOS / 2017-08-28

Amauri Carmona Morelos, who also goes by the name Alberto Ruiz Cano and Amauri Paudd, is an alleged drug trafficker operating along Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast. Carmona reportedly had links to…

News

COCAINE / 5 NOV 2021

US prosecutors have charged an alleged MS13 leader in Honduras and another man thought to be one of his main drug and weapons providers with international cocaine trafficking charges, raising…

COCAINE / 15 JUL 2021

Nicaraguan Fisherman Ted Hayman Forbes and his drug trafficking network operated from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the Colombian island of San Andres in the Caribbean. His capture and sentencing…

COCAINE / 15 JUL 2021

The murder of a prominent folk singer in Guatemala thrust a Nicaraguan nightclub owner into the spotlight and revealed an illicit drug trafficking network that stretched from Colombia to Mexico.

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 JUL 2021

In the process of expanding their influence, criminal groups often develop close ties with elites in an effort to gain protection and access to better resources. This facet of transnational…

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 25 JUN 2021

Prosecutors in Honduras say they will ask Nicaragua to extradite an alleged MS13 leader who has been on the lam for five years since being charged with money laundering -…

ELITES AND CRIME / 4 JUN 2021

With his leading opponent under house arrest for money laundering charges, Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega appears to be weaponizing the justice system to block his competition before upcoming presidential elections.

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