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

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border…

GUATEMALA / 23 SEP 2021

The Jalisco Cartel New Generation, which has rapidly expanded to become Mexico's greatest criminal threat, may now be spreading its…

COCAINE / 14 OCT 2020

The number of destroyed illegal airstrips and the volume of seized cocaine in Honduras this year are set to surpass…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…