All About Barrio 18

BARRIO 18 / 15 JUL 2019

A government crackdown on phone use in prisons has led inmates in El Salvador to adopt desperate measures to communicate with the outside world, including using toilet paper, toothpaste and…

BARRIO 18 / 2 JUL 2019

A network of corrupt hospital officials is allegedly helping imprisoned gang members communicate attack orders to other associates, in just the latest state institution to be co-opted by the country’s…

BARRIO 18 / 21 JUN 2019

The new administration of El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has already shown that it will adopt hardline measures to combat the MS13 and Barrio 18 street gangs -- measures that…

The notorious Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang (Barrio 18) are behind the majority of extortion rackets in the Northern Triangle. The development of their criminal structures over the…

The variety of extortionists in Central America speaks to the ease with which opportunists can set up their own schemes. Independent actors have taken advantage of the low barriers entry…

Through the use of violence, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang (Barrio 18)  have become the most feared criminal brands in the Northern Triangle. Much of their violence…

BARRIO 18 / 26 APR 2019

In parts of Guatemala City, opening a small business or setting up an informal stall can carry a death sentence. Every week, shopkeepers and business owners pay extortion in…

BARRIO 18 / 26 APR 2019

On the outskirts of Guatemala City lie impoverished neighborhoods, home to millions who commute to work in the capital city. These so-called “dorm cities,” long neglected by the state and lacking in…

Extortion in Guatemala City is rife, and it is mainly carried out by street gangs and copycat groups. Shops, large businesses, and the public transport sector have all been affected…

In terms of total monetary loss due to extortion, El Salvador tops all Northern Triangle countries. The country pays out an estimated $400 million a year in extortion. One of…

San Pedro Sula is Honduras’s second most populous urban center, and also deals with many of the same problems as the capital, Tegucigalpa, when it comes to street gangs, violence…

Extortion in Honduras is both systematic and violent. The country is believed to pay out about $200 million yearly in extortion. Tegucigalpa, the country’s largest city and capital, is overrun…

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