All About Barrio 18

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…

The Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are now home to some of the most sophisticated extortion schemes in Latin America. The birth of these extortion markets is…

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…

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…

BARRIO 18 / 8 FEB 2019

The number of imprisoned women in Guatemala has quadrupled in the past five years, influenced by an increase in police mega-operations yielding more arrests for extortion and related crimes. One…

BARRIO 18 / 6 FEB 2019

At 15, you are a woman, a gang member for the Barrio 18, in a marginal barrio of Honduras. You have kids, you are jailed, police abuse you and you question…

BARRIO 18 / 5 FEB 2019

A spike in police slayings have El Salvador's officers on edge as some called on social media for extrajudicial executions of suspected members of the street gangs, an issue that…

BARRIO 18 / 4 FEB 2019

The use of protected witnesses by El Salvador’s Attorney General’s Office increased by 15 times in the last 11 years. The case of a young woman accused by her boyfriend…

BARRIO 18 / 1 FEB 2019

The citizens of El Salvador are set to elect a new president on February 3 amid an uptick in deadly violence in January, which has thrust the country’s security situation…

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…

BARRIO 18 / 24 JAN 2019

The homicide rate in El Salvador has spiked after authorities in the Central American nation saw a substantial reduction in homicides in 2018, raising important questions about the role of…

BARRIO 18 / 3 JAN 2019

The first MS13 and Barrio 18 gang members to arrive in El Salvador were deported from the United States in the late 1980s. Some even fought in the civil…

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