Top 5 Largest Latin-American Cartels. In this video we list the 5 largest Latin-American cartels. The violent cartels are only the top of the iceberg unfortunately.
5. Mara Salvatrucha
Established in the early 1980’s, the Mara Salvatrucha ( MS-13 ) are a massive and violent street gang who carry out “murders, assaults… robberies, and underground prostitution rings”. The gang has formal hierarchy – unlike many of the groups on this list. The majority of the gang members are Salvadorian and Guatemalan by ethnicity. Insight Crimes states that their “activities have helped make the Northern Triangle – Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras – the most violent place in the world that is not at war”.
4. Comando Vermelho
Thought to be “Brazil’s oldest and largest criminal group,” the Comando Vermelho (CV) – Red Command – is the preeminent gang in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The CV started out as a group to protect prison members, but fell into muggings, bank robberies, and drug trafficking. The CV has been linked to Colombian drug cartels in their efforts to maintain drug revenue and continue their operations throughout the country and the region.
3. Cartel de Juarez
Operating out of the Northern Mexican provinces and neighbouring regions in the United States, the Juarez Cartel has been in operation since the early 1970s. On top of drug trafficking, the gang has been known for people smuggling, money laundering, bribery, kidnappings, racketeering, arms trafficking, and the fear-instilling practice of decapitating rivals and dumping their corpses in public places. The group also controls much of the police force and prominent politicians.
The Mara 18 operates under a vast array of pseudonyms and different titles, but their 50-year long operation is in the process of rebranding. Like its rival, the MS-13, the Mara 18 started life as a street gang in Los Angeles and spread both Northward and Southward from there on. Thought to have more than 30.000 members, the M-18 boasts some of the largest membership numbers in the world and controls much of Central America.
1. Cartel del Golfo
The granddaddy of Mexican drug cartels, the Cartel del Golfo, has been around since the early 1930’s – which means they’ve outlived many American mafia groups. With age, though, the Cartel has begun to lose territory to younger and more dynamic cartels – falling by the wayside while gangs like the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas engage in massive warfare. Nonetheless, the group is still cunning and has trimmed down its involvement in order to produce some of the largest gains.