Drug trafficking is diversifying

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The tentacles of drug trafficking are very long and appear in unexpected sectors; from the corners of illegality (human trafficking, kidnapping, milking pipeline) to the legal facade (hotels and casinos, to name a few). But now we know that Mexican organized crime groups undertake a new modality in Central America.

In the practice to launder ill-gotten money, they have begun to flood with money popular shops of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Criminals offer small business loans with high-interest rates and then go through the popular areas on board luxury vehicles and collect cash and profits.

In the article published by EL UNIVERSAL, there is an encouraging sign: the Honduran government has released the modus operandi of the criminals, unlike other situations in which the illegal activities are in the public domain, known to anyone but the authority, which ultimately can only mean corruption or fear of confrontation. In the events described, criminals take advantage of the needs of the people and provide them with high-interest rates, without documents.

If the debtor cannot pay, he is threatened and his life is at risk, according to the police authorities.

For many years, the Central American nations have become the ideal refuge for Mexican drug gangs. Expelled by the operations to dismantle them, causing a cockroach effect, they have chosen this region to operate.

Despite official announcements about raising the bilateral cooperation with the goal of ending this phenomenon, the crime rates associated with organized crime have increased in Central America as well as money laundering. A December 2014 report conducted by Global Financial Integrity places Costa Rica as the country with the largest flow of illicit money in the area, with 9.4 billion dollars in a decade; an increase of 3 billion compared with the previous period.

In the fight against drug trafficking, a week ago, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos outlined in an interview with this newspaper the lines of what must be a comprehensive approach: "Forceful, international cooperation and strengthening of police efficiency." In this sense, the coordination between countries in the hemisphere is essential.

Those who have had the problem for years, such as Mexico and Colombia, should become the main allies of the Central American nations to bar the way to organized crime. It is a challenge that requires substantial resources and close accompaniment. The support of the developed economies is indispensable.