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Guatemala's government has told Al Jazeera that drug cartels have penetrated at least one-third of the country, following a crackdown on gangs in Mexico.
Trafficking and violence have increased in the northern triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which have witnessed a sharp rise in Mexican gang activity.
A history of civil strife, instability and corruption has made the region extremely vulnerable.
Guatemala's murder rate is at least double that of Mexico's, and each year, between 250 and 350 tonnes of cocaine are reported to pass through the country. In the first of a series of reports about drugs in Central America, Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman explains how Guatemalan authorities are battling the cartels.