HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Cocaine Seizures Stable, but US Worried
BRIEF

Guatemala Cocaine Seizures Stable, but US Worried

GUATEMALA / 13 SEP 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Guatemalan cocaine seizures are on track to reach the same levels in 2013 as in 2012, but concerns remain over plans to nationalize Guatemala’s counter-narcotics efforts.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told elPeriodico that drug seizures had dropped in 2013 compared with the past two years, and attributed this to increased controls forcing drug traffickers to move smaller quantities at a time.

However, according to national police figures reported by elPeriodico, 2,236 kilos of cocaine were seized between January 1 and September 4 this year, compared to 3,292 kilos in 2012 — a proportionally almost equal haul when the difference in time periods is taken into consideration.

However, there has been a significant decrease in synthetic drug seizures in 2013 compared to 2012, with authorities recovering just five kilos of methamphetamines so far this year compared to more than two tons in 2012. The figures do not take into account the seizure of precursor chemicals, which rose signifcantly last year.

InSight Crime Analysis

Guatemala, along with the rest of Central America, is a major transshipment point for US-bound cocaine and a focus for US counter-narcotics operations in the region. Though the United States stopped military aid to Guatemala in 1990, it has continued to fund anti-drug efforts, and purchased helicopters for the country in 2007.

Plans are currently underway to transfer seven helicopters used for anti-drug surveillance — and until now maintained by the United States — into the hands of the Guatemalan government. Guatemala’s interior minister has declared the Guatemalan personnel that will fly the helicopters to be highly skilled, however US officials have in the past expressed concern to InSight Crime about handing the reins of anti-drug efforts over to the Guatemalan Air Force.

Though Guatemalan Defense Minister Ulises Anzueto claimed last year that helicopter patrols had significantly reduced drug flights through the country, he also admitted 70 percent of drugs moving through Guatemala were trafficked via the country’s coastline. This means the country will need to focus efforts on sea as well as air routes, something which could prove to be a budgetary strain.

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.

Tags

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 24 AUG 2018

In this week's podcast, we finish our series on illegal campaign financing in Guatemala, focusing on current President Jimmy Morales.

GUATEMALA / 17 JUN 2011

A candidate for the mayoralty of a suburb of Guatemala City was murdered on Thursday, making him the second candidate…

EXTRADITION / 27 FEB 2015

The story of the precipitous fall of Guatemala's once-feared drug trafficker Waldemar Lorenzana may now include Alzheimer's.

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…