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ABSTRACT: Narco-trafficking and Perpetuated Violence in Guatemala

Over the years drug cartels have made their way into Guatemala through their borders. Drug trafficking is the main reason why the border between Guatemala and Honduras is one of the most violent locations in Central America. Due to lawlessness and corruption, wealthy drug traffickers assume an authoritative role in the region (Crisis Group, 2014). A 2010 report done by U.S. International Narcotics Control Strategy says that “Guatamala is the epicenter of the drug threat.” (Brice, CNN, 2011). However, the increase in drug related violence is due to Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel. The criminal gangs from Zetas have so much power that their permission is required to enter and leave certain neighborhoods and streets in Guatemala. Narco-trafficking related crimes also includes kidnapping. The amount of missing persons has increased to 207 percent from 2009 to 2013 (OASC, 2014). Kidnapping occurs so that drug traffickers can demand ransom and they have a reputation of killing the victim even after a ransom has been paid.

A recommendation to solve the drug trafficking problem in Guatemala would be to fix the corruption which permeates throughout the Guatemalan government, including the police forces. After dealing with governmental and political corruption, there will be a better chance to properly train and equip the police forces in order to prevent gangsters and traffickers from having power in the streets. Drug trafficking is the gateway to many other crimes in Guatemala and is the core reason why there is so much violence and unease in the State. Fixing up the government is necessary for the livelihood of the Guatemalan people.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness


Human Rights Law

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Jason Levy


© The Author(s)

Narco Trafficking, Corruption, and Perpetuated Violence in Guatemala