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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

How Black Market Ear Tags Help Flow of Contraband Cattle

INVESTIGATIONS / 18 MAY 2022

Cattle from Mexico and the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua help feed the domestic beef markets of each of these countries. The processed byproducts of some of…

Colombia's Caribbean Drug Route Alive and Well Around San Andres Archipelago

NEWS / 29 MAR 2022

A record cocaine seizure off the coast of Colombia’s San Andres is the latest in a string of million-dollar drug hauls in which speedboats were intercepted near the Caribbean archipelago,…

What are the Most Corrupt Countries in Latin America?

NEWS / 11 FEB 2022

Latin American countries scored poorly on Transparency International’s latest corruption index, with the worst joining the ranks of war-torn nations and dictatorships.

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

ARGENTINA / 1 FEB 2022

In 2021, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean experienced a marked increase in murders. Resurgent violence was to be expected after some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 lockdowns…

EL SALVADOR / 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.

COCAINE / 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 / 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…

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…

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