All About Extortion

The Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang’s (Barrio 18) primary criminal economy is extortion, or what they call rent. In the early 1990s, when the gangs first formed among…

Extortion spurs violence in Northern Triangle countries, which consistently have some of the highest murder rates in Latin America. But it is destructive in other insidious ways as well.

Extortion is a particularly destructive crime because victims often have little recourse. Initial state responses have proven counterproductive, and more recent measures – though more efficient – are simply not…

A cheap phone and a few dollars’ worth of prepaid credit serve as the rudimentary tools of extortionists in Northern Triangle countries. Here are some of the most common schemes…

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 MAR 2019

A new investigation has revealed how Cuban doctors are used by the Venezuelan government in an extortion scheme to remain in power, revealing new forms of criminal collaboration between the…

COLOMBIA / 7 FEB 2019

A new report says that some of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations are overseeing loan sharking schemes headed by Colombian nationals throughout the country, providing further evidence that such groups…

BARRIO 18 / 29 JAN 2019

Though violence has decreased in Guatemala, recent deadly attacks against buses show that public transport remains under siege by gangs, which have increased their extortion demands as smaller groups get…

COLOMBIA / 8 JAN 2019

Turbulence reigned in 2018, but there was one constant: the flow of Venezuelans fleeing their country. The unceasing migration has left thousands of people homeless, penniless and ripe for exploitation…

BARRIO 18 / 16 NOV 2018

Even under the best of circumstances, there are few incentives to become a cooperating witness in an extortion case in El Salvador. And, as one witness has found out, participation…

EXTORTION / 12 NOV 2018

A new report from Mexico’s statistics institute provides fresh evidence that the nation’s ongoing security crisis has taken a toll on the local economy, particularly on large businesses.

EXTORTION / 1 NOV 2018

Citizens in Mexico are extorted once every hour and 15 minutes, underscoring how fundamental this activity is for the country’s criminals and how severe underreporting makes it increasingly difficult for…

EL SALVADOR / 7 SEP 2018

A number of recent operations have revealed that the MS13 has developed a financial structure that’s helped them increase their income. But how does the gang weave its dirty money…

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