All About Extortion

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…

EXTORTION / 26 APR 2019

A visit to a women’s prison in the city of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, shows the increasing role that women play in extortion rackets. The ubiquity of extortion markets in urban, poor…

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…

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…

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InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…