HomeNewsBriefAssault on Police Station Leaves 8 Dead in Guatemala
BRIEF

Assault on Police Station Leaves 8 Dead in Guatemala

GUATEMALA / 14 JUN 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

A group of armed men murdered eight police and abducted one more in a key drug trafficking region in western Guatemala, in what is rumored to have been a revenge attack carried out by organized crime.

Investigators say at least 15 men travelling in three vehicles launched an assault against a police substation in the municipality of Salcaja, Quetzaltenango. The men, who were reportedly armed with AK-47s, executed the police officers while they were lying on the ground, reported Prensa Libre.

The group then kidnapped the station's deputy inspector, who has not been heard of since. Police later found a radio belonging to the missing official on a road heading west and believe they may have taken him to the Mexican border at La Mesilla.

The motivation for the attack remains unclear, although authorities have suggested it may have been payback for the seizure of over a ton of cocaine earlier this month. Two of the executed officers had played a role in that operation. It is also possible the attack was linked to the detention of an alleged bodyguard who worked for a local drug trafficker in San Marcos province.

InSight Crime Analysis

The modus operandi of the attackers -- and the fact that the municipality of Salcaja lies along a key drug trafficking corridor heading towards the Mexican border -- suggest the massacre is almost certainly linked to drug traffickers.

If the armed group did indeed flee with their hostage towards the Mexican border, this would imply the involvement of Mexican drug traffickers, most likely linked to the Zetas, who are believed to operate in the region and do not shy away from such spectacularly bloody operations.

However, if the rumor that the attack is linked to a San Marcos trafficker proves true, then the organization behind the assault is more likely to be homegrown. San Marcos has proven to be one of the few areas of Guatemala the Zetas have struggled to penetrate. Independent traffickers who work with the Zetas' rivals, the Sinaloa Cartel, are believed to control the drug trade in the province. 

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.

Tags

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

EXTORTION / 15 MAY 2012

The murder of six taxi drivers in Guatemala in six days calls attention to the targeting of transit workers by…

BOLIVIA / 20 MAR 2018

An annual US report on international drug trafficking suggests that Latin America continues to struggle with developing effective strategies…

COLOMBIA / 28 NOV 2012

The United Nations General Assembly has backed a proposal put forth by several Latin American countries to debate alternative approaches…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…