HomeGuatemalaJuan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias "Juan Chamale"
GUATEMALA

Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias "Juan Chamale"

GUATEMALA PERSONALITIES / LATEST UPDATE 2017-03-09 22:42:30 EN

Until his arrest in March 2011, Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias "Juan Chamale," was ranked by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as Guatemala's number one drug trafficker. He was known as Guatemala's "Heroin King" and served as a key contact for the Sinaloa Cartel.

History

Ortiz was heavily involved in cocaine trafficking, and was accused by US authorities of helping to move over 40 tons of cocaine through Central America en route to the United States. Ortiz worked with local fishermen to smuggle cocaine in small fishing boats and may have also commissioned semi-submersibles to transport the drug.

Juan Chamale Factbox

DOB: Unknown

Group: Ran drug transport network

Criminal Activities: Drug trafficking, opium poppy cultivation

Status: Extradited May 2014

Area of Operation: San Marcos province, Guatemala

Ortiz also controlled a major opium poppy producing area, the province of San Marcos, where he was a popular local figure. When Ortiz was arrested in 2011, locals protested to demand his release. He owned at least ten estates in his area of operations and provided numerous jobs, in addition to cultivating local support by throwing parties and sponsoring beauty contests.

Criminal Activities

Ortiz was involved in cocaine trafficking and poppy cultivation for heroin production.

Geography

Ortiz based his criminal network in the San Marcos province, one of the most important regions in Guatemala given its proximity to the highlands, Mexico and to the Pacific coast, where most of the drugs coming from South America land. His group's control of various points along the coast gave it a strategic advantage over competitors.

Allies and Enemies

Ortiz exerted influence over local politicians and police in the region, and relied on a powerful local support network to conduct his business. He is thought to have worked out a deal that made him the Sinaloa Cartel's top transporter, helping the Mexican group move drugs that arrived via Pacific routes. 

Prospects

Ortiz was arrested in March 2011 in the city of Quetzaltenango, near the Mexican border. In February 2012, a Guatemalan court ruled that Ortiz could be extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges. He was extradited in May 2014.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 10 JAN 2020

The arrest of a mayor in Guatemala's northern department of San Marcos has unveiled a criminal structure known as "Los…

COCAINE / 8 JUL 2021

A US investigation has shed light on the alleged participation of Guatemalan soldiers in a cocaine smuggling network linked to…

EXTRADITION / 7 FEB 2012

A legal safeguard built into Guatemala's justice system is being used to stall the extraditions to the United States of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…