Zetas-Gulf Cartel Conflict Continues to Rock Mexico’s Northeast
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The ongoing decline of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas has left northeastern Mexico without a single dominant criminal force. But the crime groups’ longstanding rivalry has continued to see blood spilled in the key trafficking region. On the surface, the state of play in Mexico’s northeast is as... Read more
Did Sean Penn’s Meeting With El Chapo Help Authorities Track Down the Kingpin?
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. When Mexican authorities captured Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in January 2016, they suggested that their success stemmed in part from an October 2015 meeting the kingpin held with Hollywood star Sean Penn and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. Now, extensive reporting... Read more
Mexico Victims’ Survey Belies Growing Homicides
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. A survey of crime victims in Mexico shows that perceptions of insecurity and the number of victims have stayed relatively stable despite the country being on pace for one of its most violent years on record. In 2016, there were an estimated 24.2 million... Read more
The Rise and Fall of Los Zetas
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. At the time of the Zetas formation in the early 2000s, as an armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, little seemed to distinguish the group from scores of predecessors and contemporaries. Mexico‘s cartels have long deployed teams of shock troops willing to engage in all manner... Read more
Colombia’s Biggest Organized Crime Group Is Hurting
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The most wanted drug trafficker in Colombia and leader of the powerful Urabeños has offered to surrender himself and his organization to authorities just days after his number two was killed by security forces. However, it is unlikely that the dispersed, decentralized criminal group will be... Read more
El Salvador Cops Allegedly Formed a Death Squad
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The government of El Salvador has yet to provide a convincing response to allegations that senior officers of the national police created criminal networks within the institution that engaged in extrajudicial killings, sexual assault and extortion. The allegations resurfaced following an investigation by Revista Factum that revealed... Read more
Tracking the FARC Rebels’ Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Assets
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. Colombia’s demobilized FARC have finally revealed their official list of assets — worth hundreds of millions of dollars — but the country’s top prosecutor has already lambasted the “useless” inventory, which likely comes up far short in its accounting of the former guerrillas’ true... Read more
New Shows Examine the CIA’s Past Role in Latin America’s Cocaine Trade
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. A pair of new television programs tackles the role of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the erection of Latin American drug routes, and while neither breaks much new ground, both reflect lingering suspicions regarding the agency’s legacy in the region. FX’s... Read more
The United States’ Response to the Opioid Crisis Comes Up Short
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced a specialized opioid detection unit to address the drug abuse crisis afflicting the country, one of the first major actions the United States has taken so far on one of Pres. Donald Trump’s key campaign... Read more
Mexico Has No Clue What to Do About Vigilante Militias
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The presence of armed civilian self-defense groups across Mexico will only cause “anarchy,” according to the country’s interior minister. His recent comments underscore a lack of coherent public policy on key security issues, as well as the precarious situation faced by citizens exposed to... Read more