News Analysis

Fiction Merges With Facts in Netflix's 'El Chapo'

Fiction Merges With Facts in Netflix's 'El Chapo'

InSight Crime Senior Investigator Deborah Bonello reflects on the new television series "El Chapo" in light of her experience covering the real-life crime boss, drug-related violence and other security issues in Mexico. Warning: This article contains spoilers.

News Briefs

Officials Resist Blaming 'Cartels' for Deadly Mexico City Clashes

Officials Resist Blaming 'Cartels' for Deadly Mexico City Clashes

A clash between Mexico's Marines and a criminal group in Mexico City has left eight dead, again raising questions about...

Colombia Amnesty Decree Eases Fears Over FARC Prisoners

Colombia Amnesty Decree Eases Fears Over FARC Prisoners

The Colombian government has issued a new decree to facilitate the release of incarcerated FARC guerrillas, removing an obstacle to...

Brazil Chief Prosecutor Applauds Multilateral Anti-Corruption Cooperation

Brazil Chief Prosecutor Applauds Multilateral Anti-Corruption Cooperation

Brazil's chief prosecutor highlighted the importance of international cooperation in ongoing probes of the biggest corruption cases in the country's...

Bolivia Coca Cultivation Grows for First Time in 6 Years: UNODC

Bolivia Coca Cultivation Grows for First Time in 6 Years: UNODC

A United Nations monitoring program reported a rise in coca cultivation in Bolivia in 2016 after five successive years of...

8 Months In, Concerns Linger as Colombia's FARC Peace Process Advances

8 Months In, Concerns Linger as Colombia's FARC Peace Process Advances

A new report on the main successes and shortcomings of Colombia's historic peace process with the FARC guerrilla group shows...

Guatemala Investigates Another Top Official of Pérez Molina Govt

Guatemala Investigates Another Top Official of Pérez Molina Govt

A former presidential candidate, who was also a minister during the administration of jailed former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina...

Investigations

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The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power. In rural sectors, uniformed BACRIM armed with assault rifles still patrol in...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network. The BACRIM's roots lie in the demobilized paramilitary umbrella group the United Self-Defense...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.