HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Drug Lord Still in US Custody Amid Debate Over Mental State
BRIEF

Guatemala Drug Lord Still in US Custody Amid Debate Over Mental State

GUATEMALA / 7 MAR 2017 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The "patriarch" of drug trafficking in Guatemala, Waldemar Lorenzana, was quietly released from US prison in 2015, it has emerged, adding a new twist to a saga that has reshaped the Guatemalan underworld.

US Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) documents obtained by Soy502 show Lorenzana, who earned the nickname "El Patriarca" ("The Patriarch") as the former head of one of Guatemala's most formidable drug trafficking networks, was released from prison on November 20, 2015.

While the reason for his release is not explicitly stated, it is almost certainly connected to multiple medical examinations to determine Lorenzana's mental state and a preliminary diagnosis of the onset of Alzheimer's in early 2015.

One court document obtained by Soy502 included the conclusion of an evaluation that the 78-year-old was not competent to stand trial.

Lorenzana "can comprehend neither the nature nor the consequences of the legal process against him or appropriately aid his defense," the report stated.

Although Lorenzana pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking following his extradition to the United States in 2014, he has yet to be sentenced due to the protracted debate over his health.

According to Soy502, the case files do not show where Lorenzana currently is, only that he is subject of more evaluations outside of the BOP's jurisdiction as he awaits a final decision on his status.

InSight Crime Analysis

Waldemar Lorenzana and his drug trafficking network once sat astride the Guatemalan underworld as key connections along the cocaine pipeline of Mexico's most powerful drug traffickers, the Sinaloa Cartel.

SEE ALSO: Lorenzanas Profile

While Lorenzana's ultimate fate remains in the air, it is clear that his one-time empire now lies in ruins. His sons, who Lorenzana tried to blame for his trafficking, are in prison in the United States after they were convicted in March last year, and little remains of the once extensive Lorenzanas network.

Debate over the veracity of the lawyers' claims that Lorenzana was not capable of standing trial will likely continue no matter what final verdict the judge delivers. But for the moment, his name can be added to the ever-growing list of major Latin American drug traffickers to secure early release after being extradited to the United States.

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

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 11 AUG 2020

The US indictment of an MS13 leader in El Salvador chronicles the latest failure of the infamous street gang to…

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 FEB 2018

The recent arrests of an elusive and powerful Guatemalan businessman-turned lobbyist and an influential judge could impact the current…

GUATEMALA / 29 SEP 2020

Criminal groups increasingly deploying drones -- for purposes ranging from surveillance to reported armed attacks of rivals -- has provoked…

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…