HomeNewsBriefEx-Guatemalan Congressman Arrested in Honduras
BRIEF

Ex-Guatemalan Congressman Arrested in Honduras

GUATEMALA / 10 DEC 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Honduran authorities arrested a former Guatemalan congressman and a former top Honduran legal official in the city of San Pedro Sula on suspicion of participation in drug trafficking. Two other Guatemalans, one with possible connections to the Guatemalan government’s aviation board, were also captured. 

On December 6, police in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula arrested Juan Luis Gonzalez — who was congressional representative for the Guatemalan Republican Front (Frente Republicano Guatemalteco – FRG) from 2000 to 2004 — along with the former regional coordinator from the Honduran prosecutor’s office, Rafael Fletes, and two Guatemalan pilots, elPeriodico reports.

One of the pilots, Howard Gilberto Suhr Castellanos, was allegedly on the payroll of the Guatemalan government’s Civilian Aeronautics agency, elPeriodico says.

For his part, Fletes denied the charges in a press conference. 

El Tiempo in Honduras reports that the men were captured after a two week long investigation carried out by counternarcotics agents in Honduras, which linked them to a recent seizure of 10.5 tons of methamphetamine in the north-central department of Yoro. Some 80 other suspects have been arrested as part of the case, including Honduran deputy police commissioner Normando Rafael Lozano Lopez.

InSight Crime Analysis

Gonzalez was in the army and is also a helicopter pilot. While in office, he represented Alta Verapaz, a province known for its importance in the drug trafficking trade. For years, the area was run by Ottoniel Turcios, who in 2010 was captured in Belize and sent to the United States to face trial. Gonzalez was thought to be connected to the Turcios’ network, although he denied any connection to this group. Turcios’ organization was replaced by the feared Mexican organization, the Zetas.  

The allegations highlight the vulnerability of political parties, security forces, government and legal institutions in Guatemala and Honduras to organized crime. The reach of drug traffickers in Guatemala was underscored recently by the United Nations’ backed anti-impunity commission, known by its Spanish acronym CICIG, which released a report identifying 18 judges suspected of having criminal ties.

Drug trafficking groups in Honduras exercise a similar degree of control over elements of the government, especially the country’s notoriously corrupt police force. The government’s efforts to clean up the police there have been slow and seen little progress, and recently the Honduran Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional.

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

HONDURAS / 14 DEC 2012

El Universal's Pablo Ferri provides a series of snapshots illustrating one of the main factors behind crime and…

CACHIROS / 2 OCT 2019

Though it’s his younger brother who will be in the courtroom facing drug trafficking charges, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 24 AUG 2017

In our August 24 Facebook Live session, Co-director Steven Dudley and Senior Editor Mike LaSusa spoke about InSight Crime's new…

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…