06/01/11 – Thomas M. Hernández of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently presented a report to the U.S. Senate that explained how the notorious Los Zetas and Sinaloa Cartel are making their presence known in Central American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Their struggle for control over drug routes in these countries has resulted in an increase of violence and homicide rates throughout Central America. Cocaine, heroin and precursors for methamphetamine are the main drugs found in Central American drug routes. These drugs travel and make their way to Mexico where they end up across the border at their final destination, the United States. Statistics show that 95% of cocaine that enters the U.S. is transported from Central America.
Hernández stated that the cartels’ activities “undermine political and judicial stability” in Central America, which increases the likelihood of corruption at various levels of the penal system. He also reported that “criminal organizations are more likely to prosper in areas where governance is already fragile.” According to El Universal, Hernández cited a 2010 study conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that revealed that El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras experience some of the highest homicide rates in the occident, with 1 homicide occurring in every 1,000 inhabitants.