HomeNewsBriefCocaine Seizure, Extortion Ring Bust Points to Guatemala Role in Regional Crime
BRIEF

Cocaine Seizure, Extortion Ring Bust Points to Guatemala Role in Regional Crime

COSTA RICA / 25 JUL 2011 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

A drug seizure in Costa Rica and the dismantling of an extortion network which targeted El Salvadorans, both allegedly run by Guatemalan nationals, are signs of the growing role played by Guatemalans in criminal activities outside of their native country.

According to Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre, authorities found 1,130 pounds of cocaine and heroin in a house in Costa Rica's capital, rented by two Guatemalan nationals. The drugs were allegedly en route to Guatemala.

The seizure is one sign of the increasingly active role played by Guatemalans in criminal activities throughout Central America. This goes for other activities besides the transport of drugs. According to El Salvadoran newspaper El Mundo, on July 22 police announced they had arrested 14 people, part of a criminal network based in Guatemala, dedicated to extorting victims in El Salvador.

A network of 21 Guatemalans would extort victims through phone calls, demanding payments of up to $3,000, the report says. The scheme may have earned the group $1.5 million from El Salvadoran sources. While Guatemalans were in charge of making the phone calls and handling the payments through bank accounts, the head of the group is allegedly an El Salvadoran member of the MS-13, according to El Mundo.

In early May, a Guatemalan drug lord was arrested in Honduras, another indication of the reach of Guatemalan criminal groups across Central America.

But Guatemala has also suffered the incursion of other criminal organizations within its own borders. Most notably, Mexican group the Zetas are known to control a vast portion of the northern Peten department. In mid-May, the Zetas were responsible for the massacre of 27 people in Peten, in what was apparently a revenge attack against a local trafficker.

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

EL SALVADOR / 23 JUN 2021

On the eve of the extradition of top leaders of El Salvador’s feared Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang to the United…

BARRIO 18 / 6 DEC 2022

The escalation of El Salvador's gang crackdown in the city of Soyapango has raised severe questions as to whether gang…

EL SALVADOR / 9 DEC 2021

In what appears to be a shot at El Salvador President Nayib Bukele’s administration, the United States has imposed sanctions…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…