HomeNewsBrief'Bishop's Killer Ran Prison Bribery Ring in Guatemala'
BRIEF

'Bishop's Killer Ran Prison Bribery Ring in Guatemala'

GUATEMALA / 4 SEP 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The former army captain convicted of killing Bishop Juan Gerardi ran a massive bribery ring from prison, according to an investigation by Guatemala's anti-impunity commission. 

Byron Lima, the former army captain convicted of murdering human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi, is accused of securing favors for other inmates in exchange for thousands of dollars' worth of bribes. Besides charging Lima with money laundering and organized crime, Guatemalan authorities arrested Lima's wife, the current national director of prison services, and the ex-assistant director of prisons. Prosecutors said that up to 12 other people have been implicated, as the Associated Press reports

Lima allegedly formed part of a ring that organized special favors for inmates, such as cell phones, conjugal visits, and transfers to other prison facilities. The national prison system director received a cut of the money in exchange for approving the transfers. 

Lima has previously been accused of enjoying "VIP" treatment while in prison. He allegedly amassed a small fortune from this bribery ring, including luxury properties and vehicles.

InSight Crime Analysis

Since 2001, Lima has been serving a 20-year prison sentence for the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was bludgeoned to death in 1998 just two days after publishing a report detailing army atrocities. The murder was seen as a traumatic setback for those seeking justice for military crimes in the country. 

Lima's father and another former military officer were also convicted of Gerardi's murder, in a historic trial that produced the first convictions of high-level army officials in a non-military tribunal since a 1996 ruling made this possible.

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

Given Lima's profile, the dismantling of his bribery ring represents an important late-term victory for the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations body active in Guatemala since 2007. The CICIG has had some success, cutting impunity rates by 23 percent in six years, but its mandate is set to expire in September 2015. 

The case also highlights the depth of the corruption present in the Guatemalan prison system, similarly to other penitentiary systems throughout Latin America. While Lima's celebrity-like status will likely draw significant outcry in Guatemala, extortion schemes facilitated by corrupt prison officials are common throughout the region.

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

GUATEMALA / 25 FEB 2015

Officials in Guatemala have captured two men accused of belonging to a criminal ring that stole a series of paintings…

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 OCT 2016

The assassination of a Guatemala mayor with alleged links to a drug trafficking group illustrates the links between elites and criminal…

GUATEMALA / 31 AUG 2012

So far in 2012 Guatemala has seized 22 percent more chemicals used to produce drugs than in the same period…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…