HomeNewsBriefBelize Arrest Shows Once-Mighty Guatemala Narco Clan Still Alive
BRIEF

Belize Arrest Shows Once-Mighty Guatemala Narco Clan Still Alive

BELIZE / 9 JAN 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The heir to what was once one of Guatemala’s premier drug trafficking organizations has been arrested in Belize, illustrating both the diehard nature of the region’s “transportista” groups and the role of this often overlooked corner of Central America in the drug trade.

Adolfo Eribel Rodriguez Barrientos was arrested in Belize by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), reported Emisoras Unidas. Following the arrest, police and prosecutors launched a series of raids on properties in Guatemala linked to Rodriguez, who now faces a US extradition order.

According to Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, Rodriguez had taken over drug trafficking operations once run by Jorge Mario Paredes Cordoba, alias “El Gordo,” who was arrested in Honduras in 2008 and then extradited to the United States.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Paredes organization was one of the most powerful of Guatemala’s so-called transportista clans — groups hired to move drug shipments. According to the US State department, the group used connections in Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico and El Salvador to move multi-ton cocaine shipments into Guatemala. Once in the country, it was either sold in bulk to a third party distributor or moved on to the United States and distributed by contacts there.

Paredes, his brothers Ever Omar and Arturo, and his right-hand man Otoniel Turcios Marroquin, alias “El Loco,” are all believed to have worked closely with Mexico’s Zetas. However, by some accounts, after the arrest of Paredes and the murder of his two brothers, the Zetas turned on Turcios, forcing him out of his territory.

SEE ALSO: The Zetas in Guatemala

However, time and again Guatemala’s transportista networks have proven their ability to survive in the face of such setbacks; this latest arrest shows that despite major losses, at least part of the Paredes organization continues to operate today.

The arrest is also a reminder of the role Belize plays in the drug trade. While the country is rarely mentioned in discussions on Central American drug trafficking, there is plenty of evidence to suggest its ample coastlines and institutional weaknesses have not gone unnoticed by the region’s traffickers.

This certainly appears to be the case for the Paredes — in addition to the recent arrest of Rodriguez, “El Loco” Turcios was also arrested in the country in 2010.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 2 AUG 2016

Authorities in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador and Honduras have recently highlighted fears of gang members' transnational criminal…

ELITES AND CRIME / 14 FEB 2017

The head of Guatemala's CICIG has responded to a smear campaign directed against him by saying that recently dismantled criminal…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 APR 2018

In our April 19 Facebook Live session, Investigator Felipe Puerta and Managing Editor Josefina Salomón discussed the selection process for…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

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 departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…