“Morogris” for Borderland Beat

The leaders and associates of Los Castillo, the Gulf Cartel (Spanish: Cartel del Golfo – CDG) faction in Honduras and Central America (image credit: La Tribuna)
For years, the Central American criminal cell of the Gulf Cartel (Cártel del Golfo – CDG), known as the “Los Castillo” gang, instilled terror in the southern zone of Honduras, leaving a trail of homicides and disappearances.
The reign of terror imposed by this gang was so severe that it deterred other criminal groups from engaging in drug trafficking in that region. Los Castillo gang emerged in Honduras and operated predominantly in the southern and eastern areas.
The leaders of this group, brothers José Adán and Dimas Arturo Castillo Velásquez, are currently incarcerated at the Morocelí Penitentiary Center in El Paraíso. Over the years, they brazenly transported drugs along the southern Honduran corridor.
As time passed, Los Castillo forged stronger criminal ties with members of the Gulf Cartel. Their roots in El Triunfo, Choluteca, fueled their involvement in drug trafficking, leading to violent acts that struck fear and intimidation into entire communities.
“Los Castillo”, as a result of their criminal activities, registered a series of commercial companies in the southern part of the country.
Criminal empire
The Police Department for Anti-Maras, Gangs, and Against Organized Crime (Dipampco) considers “Los Castillo” as one of the most violent criminal groups operating in the country. 
Through their illicit activities, “Los Castillo” managed to establish a criminal empire, leveraging the real estate sector by acquiring properties, land, and luxury vehicles, a common practice among drug gangs. To continue accumulating ill-gotten wealth, they set up multiple commercial enterprises, skillfully laundering millions of dollars.
According to Dipampco and the Public Ministry (MP), the group’s drug trafficking and money laundering activities allowed them to acquire powerful weapons, forming an armed wing to eliminate their rivals.
Sought out by authorities
The escalation of their criminal activities drew significant attention from the authorities, leading to the eventual pursuit and capture of the Castillo Velásquez brothers, who were the key ringleaders of the gang.
Subsequently, their subordinates faced the same fate, including Francisco Javier Castillo Velásquez, also known as “El Negrito,” who had been a member of the National Police.
As the net tightened, other leaders of the “Los Castillo” gang were also apprehended, among them a female member named Abigail López Hernández and José Adán Castillo Escalante, who are currently incarcerated as well.
Luxurious homes were seized from them. These properties were obtained through drug trafficking and money laundering.
Largest seizures
Since last week, the National Police and the Public Ministry have launched a series of operations to confiscate assets belonging to “Los Castillo.” The operations targeted the department of Choluteca, resulting in the seizure of six houses, nine plots of land, and two commercial companies.
Authorities from Dipampco reported a total value of 23.5 million lempiras (approximately US$955,000) in assets linked to the said criminal organization. Commissioner Francisco Turcios, the deputy chief of Dipampco, highlighted that the Gulf Cartel is an international drug trafficking group operating in various regions of Honduras, including the southern part of the country.
As investigations continue, the seizure of assets is ongoing, with recent actions taking place in the municipality of El Triunfo, Choluteca.