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GUATEMALA

Lorenzanas

GUATEMALA / LATEST UPDATE 2021-01-13 EN

The Lorenzanas were a traditional contraband family, who, over time, became enmeshed in the lucrative drug trade. The group’s criminal career ended in the early 2010s with the arrest and extradition of its top leaders.

History

The Lorenzanas were one of Guatemala’s most long-running drug trafficking groups. The family had a relationship with Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel that stretched back at least two decades. Their reach once extended from Guatemala’s poorest communities, whose support was bought with largesse, to the upper echelons of the country’s political elite. However, in recent years they have become debilitated and their influence has declined.

Leadership

Waldemar Lorenzana was arrested in December 2008 for alleged weapons possession but was soon released for reasons that illustrated their reach into the government justice system. In April 2010, the US Treasury Department froze the assets of Waldemar and his three sons, citing connections with the Sinaloa cartel. Then, after a change of government in Guatemala in 2011, the Lorenzana empire came crashing down. Waldemar Lorenzana and his sons, Eliu and Waldemar, were all arrested and later extradited to the United States.

Shortly after his extradition to the United States, in August 2014, Waldemar Lorenzana pleaded guilty to drug crimes. The younger Waldemar Lorenzana and his brother Eliu were convicted on drug trafficking charges in March 2016. In 2018, they were separately sentenced to life in prison.

Haroldo Jeremías Lorenzana Cordón, alias “Chichi,” was the last Lorenzana son to be captured. Guatemalan police arrested him during a 2019 raid. Despite strong objections and legal maneuvering, he later accepted his extradition to the United States in early 2021 to face charges that he trafficked drugs from Colombia and Honduras, through Guatemala and Mexico, and eventually to the United States.

Geography

The Lorenzanas were from Guatemala, and facilitated northbound drug shipments through the country.

Allies and Enemies

The Lorenzanas had a relationship with Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel that stretched back at least two decades.

Prospects

The Lorenzanas have been decimated by arrests of the group’s top leaders, with Waldemar extradited to the United States. When his trial began in 2015, it was revealed the once powerful figure of Guatemala’s underworld could have Alzheimer’s. With all of its top members behind bars in the United States, for all intents and purposes, the empire of the Lorenzana clan appears to have been dismantled.

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