All About MS13

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…

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…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

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4 FEB 2021

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THE ORGANIZATION

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…