HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Cracks Down on Drug Chemical Smuggling into Guatemala
BRIEF

El Salvador Cracks Down on Drug Chemical Smuggling into Guatemala

EL SALVADOR / 19 JUL 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

A network of companies in Guatemala and El Salvador are accused of serving as a front for a smuggling ring which brought 720 tons of precursor chemicals into Guatemala via its ports, illustrating the weakness of the country’s maritime border controls.

Officials in El Salvador are investigating two Guatemalan and three Salvadoran companies for allegedly smuggling chemicals used for illicit drug production into Guatemala. According to elPeriodico, Salvadoran police believe the five companies are part of a network of front companies responsible for sending 720 tons of precursor chemicals into Guatemala since March 2011.

While there is no warrant for their arrest in Guatemala, police in El Salvador are searching for Salvadoran Gerardo Armando Villacorta Archila and Guatemalan Federico Alejandro Mora, believed to be leaders of the smuggling network.

InSight Crime Analysis

The rise of Mexican drug trafficking organizations in Guatemala has made the Central American country an important site for synthetic drug production. Indeed, the Sinaloa Cartel, believed to be a major contributor to this trend, may now be producing more methamphetamine in Guatemala than in Mexico, which has traditionally been considered the largest source of meth to the United States.

In 2011, Guatemala seized 1,600 tons of precursor chemicals, a 400 percent increase from the previous year. Authorities have seized so many precursor chemicals in recent months that police in some cities have run out of space to store them properly, sparking concerns over public safety.

According to Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez, Guatemala’s main draw for synthetic drug producers is its lax port security. In a recent interview, Lopez told elPeriodico that this has to do with a lack of resources and equipment. Very few shipping containers are inspected by Guatemalan customs officials, and those that are must be examined manually because the country lacks the x-ray technology used by port authorities in wealthier nations.

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

CIACS / 13 MAY 2011

A Guatemalan court acquitted former President Alfonso Portillo of corruption charges, in a major blow to the credibility of the…

CIACS / 29 JUN 2017

In our June 29 Facebook Live session, Senior Editor Mike LaSusa and Senior Investigator Héctor Silva Ávalos discussed the case…

EL SALVADOR / 16 NOV 2012

Hector Silva Avalos, Salvadoran journalist and current resident fellow at American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (…

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…