The US Department of State – Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) – Fights International Crime
INL Task Forces Fight Gangs, Kidnappers, and Drug Traffickers on the Honduras-Guatemala Border
Porous borders constitute one of the greatest impediments to law enforcement in Central America. Governments lack resources to regularly patrol border regions, which often span inaccessible areas blocked by mountains and rain forests, and are often unable to coordinate effectively with their neighbors to make sure both sides of the border are protected.
Unprotected borders, combined with the many other challenges facing the region, contribute to Central America’s role in the international drug trade, and the ongoing exodus of unaccompanied children (UCs) making their way to Mexico and the United States.
While the problem may appear intractable, INL-supported projects in the region are seeking new and innovative ways to take back the borders.
In August, two INL-supported anti-gang units, the Honduran NAGU and the Guatemalan PANDA, moved together into the border region to rescue a mother and two children kidnapped in Honduras and held for a $10 million ransom in Guatemala.
The operation, conducted in the Honduran town of Corinto and the Guatemalan town of Aguas Calientes, linked the INL-funded teams with prosecutors in both countries and was a first for cross-border operations of this kind between two of the countries most affected by drug trafficking and UC migration.
Other programs seek to improve the efficacy of border operations in general. In September, the Honduran government made a sustainable investment in the security of this border when it deployed the National Automated Case Management Information System (NACMIS), an INL-developed database and software interface for archiving and accessing criminal records, warrants, weapons registrations, and other data at the Corinto border crossing.
Within 48 hours of deploying NACMIS at Corinto, Honduran border police captured 12 suspects at the border with outstanding arrest warrants, including a 54-year-old man accused of raping a minor.
These arrests demonstrate the system’s effectiveness as a tool for Honduran border officials. INL-Honduras will next deploy NACMIS terminals at the Las Manos border between Nicaragua and Honduras and the Amatillo border between El Salvador and Honduras. Doing so will provide access to the NACMIS database at Honduras’ three busiest border crossings.
VIDEO, Central America and Civilian Security – Americas Society/Council of the Americas
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