There are an estimated 1.6 million illegal arms being trafficked around Guatemala in 2011.
The homicide rate in the country was 52 people per 100,000 in 2011.
Source: Guy Adams, “Guatemala’s bloody battle with Mexican drug cartels,” Independent, November 5, 2011.
Drug cartel Los Zetas was charging migrants between $7,000 to $10,000 per person to be smuggled from Central American countries through Mexico and into the United States.
The drug trafficking cartel diversified into human smuggling and had recruiters in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to transport people along supply routes towards the U.S. border.
Source: Tim Johnson, “Violent Mexican drug gang, Zetas, taking control of migrant smuggling,” Miami Herald, August 12, 2011.
According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, over 90 percent of the cocaine from South America that enters the US first travels through Guatemala.
The Mexican government employs 125 immigration officers on the 540 mile border between Guatemala and Mexico. In comparison, the United States employs 30,000 agents on its border with Mexico.
Source: Nick Miroff and William Booth, “In southern Mexico, a neglected frontier,” Washington Post, June 21, 2011.
Migrants from Guatemala paid human smugglers $7,000 to be smuggled into the United States from Mexico in 2011.
The human smuggling fee from Guatemala is up from the reported price of $2,450 in 2008.
Source: Associated Press, “Mexico police find 513 US-bound migrants in trucks,” Yahoo News, May 17, 2011.
The Mexican drug cartel Zetas was operating in up to 75 percent of Guatemala’s territory in 2010, according to drug intelligence officials.
Source: Reuters, “Guatemala captures 22 drug traffickers in sweep,” Yahoo News, December 26, 2010.
The price of a single allergy pill containing ephedrine on the black market in Guatemala is $2.50.
A kilogram of bulk ephedrine from China costs $10,000 on the black market in Mexico.
Ephedrine is in high demand as it is used to make methamphetamine.
(Cost of Meth here.)
Source: William Booth and Anne-Marie O’Conner, “Mexican cartels emerge as top source for U.S. meth,” Washington Post, November 28, 2010.
Between 2008 and 2010, authorities in Guatemala seized $5.8 Billion in assets from drug smuggling organizations within the country. The value of the amount seized is equivalent to the country’s annual operating budget.
Source: “Guatemala: U.S. should look beyond Mexico in fighting drug trade,” CNN, November 23, 2010.
In El Salvador,security officials state that drug violence caused the homicide rate increased by 37 percent in 2009 as there were 71 murders for every 100,000 residents. Other Central America countries had high homicide rates as well, with Honduras having 67 per 100,000, and Guatemala having 52 murders per 100,000 residents.
By comparison, Mexico has 14 murders per 100,000 and the United States has 5.4 per 100,000 residents.
The high level of deaths in Central America is reported to be due to the increase in cocaine smuggling routes throughout the country. Cocaine seizures by security personnel in the region quadrupled from 2004 and 2007.
Source: Nick Miroff and William Booth, “Mexican drug cartels bring violence with them in move to Central America,” Washington Post, July 27, 2010.