Home Originals Drug Trafficking Organizations in Central America

Drug Trafficking Organizations in Central America

Soldiers stand guard next to narcotics wrapped in silver packages in Tijuana, Mexico. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes


The levels of violence described in our previous posts are exponentially exacerbated by Central Americas critical role as a conduit for drug trafficking. According to some estimates, the Northern Triangle has become the prime conduit for drug transit from the coca producing countries to Mexico and then finally into the United States. It is estimated that as much as 90% of the cocaine produced in the coca producing countries like Colombia and Peru are shipped through the ungoverned areas of Gracias a Dios in Honduras. The following is a brief summary of key facts relating to Central America’s role in the drug trade;

  • Central America is neither a producer nor consumer of significant amounts of cocaine.
  • The region is a conduit, a transit corridor for the drug trade. The trade is mostly controlled by Mexican and Colombian cartels.
  • Government policies are focused on interdiction and combatting trafficking.
  • Even if interdiction succeeds increased enforcement merely increases the price and with it the resources available to traffickers. (Unintended or undesired effects)

    With more cash on hand traffickers are better equipped to bribe government officials, purchase weapons.

  • Increased financial resources also allows these criminal organizations to acquire the means to further expand and create more sophisticated multi-national business networks and organizations)
  • The experiences in Mexico and Colombia- escalation of interdictions efforts, on a scale that the CENTAM nations could never mount without US help- would most likely increase the levels of violence without diminishing the capacities of drug traffickers.
  • The drug wars have already brought extreme elevations of violence and damaged criminal justice institutions.



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