NarcoFiles: The New Criminal Order

Credit: James O'Brien/OCCRP
Published: November 6, 2023

Drug trafficking is a globe-spanning business. Cocaine might start life at a plantation in Colombia before being repackaged in Mexico, processed in the Netherlands, and sold on to users as far away as Bulgaria. Markets are booming in Asia, Africa, and Australia, generating billions in illicit revenues that flow back across the world through bank wires, cash transfers, and other transactions.

But the harms are not felt equally. It is developing nations that are most often strangled by the drug trade’s tentacles of violence, corruption, environmental destruction, and economic instability. The borderless nature of these crimes — and the gangs and cartels behind them — requires cross-border cooperation by journalists trying to expose them.

NarcoFiles: The New Criminal Order, the largest investigative project of its kind to originate in Latin America, was launched with this in mind.

OCCRP, the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP), Vorágine, and Cerosetenta / 070 gained early access to the data from two organizations, Distributed Denial of Secrets and Enlace Hacktivista. They then shared the leak with more than 40 other media outlets. Journalists from over 23 countries worked on the investigation, chiefly in Latin America but also in Europe and the United States.

Using leads found in the leaked data, reporters produced dozens of stories revealing the myriad ways in which organized crime groups are evolving, expanding, and experimenting in the modern world — while leaving new victims along the way.

Read on to discover what OCCRP and its partners have uncovered.

The Big Picture

The Highway to Europe - Inside A Global Drug Collaboration

Think of the drug trade, and you might think of rigid hierarchies run by drug lords like Pablo Escobar or Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Today, the reality is far more complex.

6 November 2023 Read the article

What Is ‘NarcoFiles: The New Criminal Order’? Everything You Need To Know

NarcoFiles is the largest investigative project on organized crime to originate in Latin America.

6 November 2023 Read the article

Stories

Opinions and Analysis

The Transnational Public Enemy

Law enforcement has struggled to cope with the globalized nature of drug trafficking. The NarcoFiles collaboration shows how journalists can work together to build a fuller picture of how international crime groups operate.

6 November 2023 Read the article

From our partners
around the world

Over 40 media partners on three continents spent a year delving into the NarcoFiles. Here are the stories they found.

Criminal
Empires
NarcoFiles stories from OCCRP’s partners showing how organized crime groups have spread across the globe — permeating economies, corrupting authorities, and expanding their reach across borders, from the Americas to Northern Europe.

The Narco Files: All You Need to Know

De Tijd

6 November 2023 Read the article in Dutch

The birth of narco power: the marriage between banana estates and paramilitaries

IrpiMedia

6 November 2023 Read the article in Italian

The Polish Criminal Connection With the Murder of Journalist Peter R. de Vries

FrontStory.PL

6 November 2023 Read the article in Polish
Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Cocaine Is Now King in Oil-Rich Venezuela

6 November 2023
piauí

piauí

The Amazonian Routes of Brazil's PCC Crime Group

6 November 2023
UOL

UOL

The Rebels That Dominate the Brazil-Colombia Drug Connection

6 November 2023
Verdad Abierta

Verdad Abierta

Colombia: Macaco’s Submission to “Justice and Peace” Falters

26 May 2023
Vorágine

Vorágine

Medellin: The Old French Mafia Boss Connection to a Foreigner Gone Missing

19 February 2023
Vorágine

Vorágine

Colombia: Businessman Paid to Erase His Murky Past

24 September 2023
Irpimedia

Irpimedia

Bananas & cocaine: the Clan del Golfo and ‘Ndrangheta alliance

8 November 2023
Quinto Elemento Lab

Quinto Elemento Lab

Mexican cartels' global expansion

12 November 2023
El Universal

El Universal

The Worldwide Expansion of Mexican Cartels: Brokers, Nearshoring, and Know-How

12 November 2023
El Nuevo Herald

El Nuevo Herald

Cartel Del Sol Chronicles I

8 November 2023
InSight Crime

InSight Crime

Suriname: Power and Cocaine

7 November 2023
InSight Crime

InSight Crime

Israeli Mobsters in Colombia

7 November 2023
Knack

Knack

The Narco Files: All You Need to Know

6 November 2023
Knack

Knack

First ever cocaine production lab discovered in Belgium

6 November 2023
Knack

Knack

Belgian Guns and Colombian Narcos

10 November 2023
Die Dunkelkammer

Die Dunkelkammer

Europe, the Cartels’ new cocaine kitchen

6 November 2023
Narcodiario

Narcodiario

Turbo-Guayaquil-Spain: the Cocaine Triangle

19 November 2023
De Tijd

De Tijd

The Belgian Cocaine Hub

6 November 2023
De Tijd

De Tijd

Belgium leading role in NarcoFiles

6 November 2023
Vorágine

Vorágine

‘Narco-bananas’ were exported through a company owned by the relatives of a former minister

3 December 2023
Vorágine

Vorágine

Colombian singer’s father alleged links with a criminal organization

14 January 2024
Vorágine

Vorágine

Colombia: narco-paramilitary land dealings in a university classroom

28 January 2024
Cuestión Pública

Cuestión Pública

Drug trafficking and organized crime in Colombia's local elections

27 October 2023
Narcotics
Inc
Coca fields in Guatemala, cocaine labs in Spain, and the narcos who infiltrated an African government: NarcoFiles stories from OCCRP’s partners showing how organized crime groups have developed innovative techniques and adapted to diverse contexts around the world.

Spain: Cartels' Rendezvous

InfoLibre

6 November 2023 Read the article in Spanish

Paraguay: Cocaine's New Hub

Clip

7 November 2023 Read the article in Spanish
Expresso

Expresso

Colombia's Clan Del Golfo Ignored African Connections

16 November 2023
CNN en Español

CNN en Español

Tren de Aragua: The Venezuelan Gang Storming South America

9 November 2023
Narcodiario

Narcodiario

Spain: The Meeting Point of Global Organized Crime

6 November 2023
Narcodiario

Narcodiario

Spain receives, produces and processes cocaine for Europe

7 November 2023
InfoLibre

InfoLibre

Spain: Welcome to Lab Land

7 November 2023
Narcodiario

Narcodiario

Dubai: Where The Crime Bosses Fly Free

20 November 2023
InfoLibre

InfoLibre

Dubai: Crime Bosses' Safe Zone

19 November 2023
Plaza Pública

Plaza Pública

Guatemala: Entering the Club of Coca Producers

6 November 2023
Agencia Ocote

Agencia Ocote

Coca Crops and Labs: Guatemala, the New Narco Territory

6 November 2023
Con Criterio

Con Criterio

Coca Expansion in Guatemala

6 November 2023
NoFicción

NoFicción

How Guatemala Became a Cocaine Paste Producer

6 November 2023
Ojoconmipisto

Ojoconmipisto

Cocaine Relocation: How Guatemala Became a Producer

6 November 2023
De Tijd

De Tijd

How Italy's 'Ndrangheta Floods Antwerp With Cocaine

8 November 2023
De Tijd

De Tijd

How Colombian Cartels Get Their hands on Belgian Weapons

10 November 2023
El Universal

El Universal

From Poppy to Coca: The New Crops in Guerrero

6 November 2023
OjoPúblico

OjoPúblico

Armed Groups From Colombia Infiltrate the Peruvian Amazon

12 November 2023
Ojo Público

Ojo Público

Tren de Aragua: The Evolution of a Crime Megafranchise in Peru

8 November 2023
Knack

Knack

Antwerp: The Italian 'Ndrangheta's Base

8 November 2023
Univisión

Univisión

Mexican Cartels' Tentacles in Colombia

6 November 2023
Der Standard

Der Standard

How Europe is being flooded with cocaine

6 November 2023
SVT

SVT

Cocaine cooks flown to Europe

6 November 2023
Berlingske

Berlingske

The narco-Hydra storming Europe

7 November 2023
CNN en Español

CNN en Español

The Tren de Aragua Assault on the ELN Guerrilla

10 November 2023
El Universal

El Universal

El Mayo's and Los Cuinis' Envoys in Colombia

12 November 2023
El Universal

El Universal

Pacific Deliver: 10 days at Sea to Ship Cocaine

12 November 2023
El Universal

El Universal

The Cocaine Broker that Links Four Continents

12 November 2023
Quinto Elemento Lab

Quinto Elemento Lab

The Zetas' “Brand” in Colombia

12 November 2023
InfoLibre

InfoLibre

From the Amazon to the Rías Baixas by Narcosubmarine

11 November 2023
Narcodiario

Narcodiario

Alleged Galician Kingpin Ships Cocaine to Spain in Semi-submersibles

11 November 2023
Knack

Knack

The 20 Cocaine Labs Discovered in Belgium

6 November 2023
Contracorriente

Contracorriente

Cultivating Coca and Formenting Fear in Honduras

24 November 2023
Drowning
in Drugs
From Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Gioia Tauro to Guayaquil, Santa Marta, and Limón: The world’s ports are vital to drug trafficking operations. These NarcoFiles stories from OCCRP’s partners cover the battle for their control.

The Second Life of a Colombian Mobster in Guayaquil

Plan V

6 November 2023 Read the article in Spanish

The Cartel's Port Hacking

Investigace.cz

7 November 2023 Read the article in Czech

The Narco Shareholder of a Colombian Port

Cuestión Pública

7 November 2023 Read the article in Spanish
El Universal

El Universal

The secret documents that involve the Mexican government with controlled deliveries

14 December 2023
Voragine

Voragine

Banana company that financed politician is targeted for cocaine shipments to Italian mafia

6 November 2023
Cuestión Pública

Cuestión Pública

Maersk and CMA-CGM: Colombian mafia's favorite shipping companies

29 May 2024
Berlingske

Berlingske

Colombian cartel's communications reveal its preference to use Danish giant

29 May 2024
InfoLibre

InfoLibre

Colombian cocaine's favorite shipping companies to travel to Europe

29 May 2024
Cuestión Pública

Cuestión Pública

Pirates of the caribbean trafficked in Maersk

29 May 2024
Dark
Money
NarcoFiles stories from OCCRP’s partners on underground flows of illicit drug profits, intricate money laundering schemes, and the financial enablers of organized crime.

Odebrecht's Dark Allies

CLIP

8 November 2023 Read the article in Spanish
La Prensa

La Prensa

How fortunes were hidden in Colombia with Mossack Fonseca's help

11 December 2023
Quinto Elemento Lab

Quinto Elemento Lab

Mexico: The Murky Links of an Investment Company

7 November 2023
Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad (MCCI)

Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad (MCCI)

The Hidden Ties of a Mexican Financial Company

7 November 2023
Aristegui Noticias

Aristegui Noticias

The Shady Connections of an Investment Firm in Mexico

7 November 2023
Noticias Caracol

Noticias Caracol

Odebrecht's Murky Lobbyists

8 November 2023
Profil

Profil

Odebrecht: Why Colombian Prosecutors Reached Out to Austria

6 November 2023
La Prensa

La Prensa

U.S.-backed money-laundering unit in Colombia stalled

20 December 2023
Cuestión Pública

Cuestión Pública

Company involved in Odebrecht case new contractor for a mega project

16 July 2023
Green
Crimes
NarcoFiles stories from OCCRP’s partners on how the activities of organized crime groups have destroyed wildlife, polluted rivers, and threatened protected areas.

From Colombia to Hong Kong: The Shark Fins' Secret Journey

Mongabay Latam

9 November 2023 Read the article in Spanish
Ojo Público

Ojo Público

The fight for illegal gold that finances terrorism in Colombia

16 December 2023
Police
and Thieves
Law enforcement is on the front lines of the battle against organized crime. But sometimes they become part of the problem. NarcoFiles stories from OCCRP’s partners on corruption, lack of transparency, and dark alliances between authorities and organized crime.

Venezuela: How Narcos Infiltrated the Army

Armando.info

6 November 2023 Read the article in Spanish
Vorágine

Vorágine

The Story of the Hooded Man From Medellín's Operation Orion

26 February 2023
Cerosetenta / 070

Cerosetenta / 070

Colombia: The Loose Ends of a Crime Against a Student Leader

4 May 2023
BIRD

BIRD

Weapons, Drugs and State Security: The Bulgaria-Colombia Express

10 November 2023
Miami Herald

Miami Herald

DEA agents face risk of exposure in Colombian leak

7 November 2023
Knack

Knack

More Gun Violence, Less Belgian Police Specialists

11 November 2023
Vorágine

Vorágine

Colombian governor under investigation for alleged extrajudicial execution

4 February 2024

The Project Team

Journalists: Allan de Abreu (piauí), Samuel Aguilar (El Universal), Iván Alamillo (Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad), Johanna Álvarez (Unidad Investigativa de Noticias Caracol), Tatiana Antolínez (Cuestión Pública), Carmen Aristegui (Aristegui Noticias), Ernesto Aroche (El Universal), Anastasia Austin (Insight Crime), Claudia Báez (Cuestión Pública), Mayra Báez (CLIP), Valeria Báez (Cuestión Pública), Antonio Baquero (OCCRP), Aldo Benitez (La Volanta), Lars Bové (De Tijd), Scott Bronstein (La Prensa), Edier Buitrago (Cuestión Pública), Àngela Cantador (CLIP), Abel Cárdenas (Ojo Público), Rigoberto Carvajal (CLIP), Brecht Castel (Knack), Aramis Castro (OjoPúblico), Daniela Castro (OCCRP), Jacqueline Charles (Miami Herald), Rosa Chávez Yacila (OjoPúblico), Alejandra Crail (El Universal), Juliana Dal Piva (CLIP), Antonio Delgado (Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald), Douwe den Held (Insight Crime), Claudia Julieta Duque (Cuestión Pública), David Espino (El Universal), Juan Omar Fierro (Aristegui Noticias), Brian Fitzpatrick (OCCRP), Casey Frank (Miami Herald), Marina Gama Cubas (CLIP), Enrique García (Ojoconmipisto), Jody García (Plaza Pública), David González (OCCRP), Eduardo Goulart (OCCRP), José Guarnizo (Vorágine), Daniela Guazo (El Universal), Kevin G. Hall (OCCRP), Pavla Holcova (investigace.cz/OCCRP), Gianfranco Huamán (OjoPúblico), Nathan Jaccard (OCCRP), Mike LaSusa (InSight Crime), Sol Lauría (La Prensa), Luisa Fernanda López (CLIP), Nelly Luna Amancio (OjoPúblico), Michael Lund (Berlingske), Vinicius Madureira (OCCRP), José Miguel Marulanda (Cuestión Pública), Paul May (Investigace.cz), Angélica Medinilla (Agencia Ocote), Stefan Melichar (Profil), Víctor Méndez (Narcodiario), Silber Meza (El Universal), Anastasiia Morozova (Frontstory.pl), Hannes Münzinger (Paper Trail), Belisa Murillo, Michael Nikbakhsh (Die Dunkelkammer), Raúl Olmos (Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad), Bianca Padró Ocasio (OjoPúblico), Angus Peacock (OCCRP), José Luis Peñarredonda (CLIP), Micael Pereira (Expresso), Paul Radu (OCCRP), Begoña P. Ramírez (InfoLibre), Miriam Ramírez (El Universal), Gerardo Reyes (Univisión), Andrea Rincón (Cuestión Pública), María Teresa Ronderos (CLIP), Ketty Roqueme (Cuestión Pública), Iván Ruiz (CLIP), Nicolás Sánchez (Vorágine), Violeta Santiago (Quinto Elemento Lab), Lilia Saúl (OCCRP), Mariusz Sepioło (Frontstory.pl), Khadija Sharife (OCCRP), Dimitar Stoyanov (BIRD), Konrad Szczygieł (Frontstory.pl), Armando Talamantes (Quinto Elemento Lab), Atanas Tchobanov (BIRD), Juanita Vélez (CLIP-OCCRP), Laura Weffer (OCCRP), Jonny Wrate (OCCRP)

Editing: Sally Mairs (OCCRP), Alexander Dziadosz (OCCRP), Jared Ferrie (OCCRP), Miranda Patrucic (OCCRP)

Research, Data and Tech: Ignacia Velasco (OCCRP), Jan Strozyk (OCCRP), Eric Barrett (OCCRP), Angus Peacock (OCCRP), Sharad Vyas (OCCRP), Benjamin Spahovic (OCCRP), Nedim Cengic (OCCRP)

Fact-Checking: Birgit Brauer (OCCRP), Ivana Jeremić (OCCRP), Olena LaFoy (OCCRP), Bojana Pavlović (OCCRP), Maura Quatorze (OCCRP)

Promotion: Sergiu Brega (OCCRP), Kathlyn Clore (OCCRP), Lauren Jackman (OCCRP)

Design and Graphics: James O'Brien (OCCRP), Edin Pašović (OCCRP)

Web and Interactive: Alex de Santa (OCCRP)

Project Coordination: OCCRP

Main partner: CLIP

Media Partners: Agencia Ocote (Guatemala), Aristegui Noticias (Mexico), Armando.Info (Venezuela), Berlingske (Denmark), BIRD (Bulgaria), Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP), Cerosetenta / 070 (Colombia), CNN en Español (United States), Con Criterio (Guatemala), ContracorrienteHN (Honduras), Cuestión Pública (Colombia), De Tijd (Bélgica), Der Standard (Austria), Die Dunkelkammer (Austria), El Universal (México), Expresso (Portugal), Frontstory.pl (Poland), Het Parool (Nederlands), Infolibre (España), InSight Crime (Latin America), Investigace.cz (Czech Republic), IrpiMedia (Italy), Knack (Belgium), La Prensa (Panamá), Mexicanos contra la Corrupción (México), Miami Herald (US), Mongabay Latam (Latin America), Narcodiario (España), No Ficción (Guatemala), Ojoconmipisto (Guatemala), OjoPúblico (Perú), Paper Trail Media (Germany), piauí (Brazil), Plan V (Ecuador), Plaza Pública (Guatemala), Profil (Austria), Quinto Elemento Lab (Mexico), Siena (Lithuania), SVT (Sweden), Univision (United States), UOL (Brazil), Verdad Abierta (Colombia), Vorágine (Colombia) and ZDF (Germany).

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