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.

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.

Tags

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 30 OCT 2015

Joining the former president and vice president of Guatemala in police custody is former head of Congress Pedro Muadi, accused…

EXTORTION / 27 SEP 2012

Three bus drivers were shot to death in a single day in Guatemala, illustrating the threat that the country's…

EL SALVADOR / 19 MAR 2018

In just under two months, the president of Guatemala will appoint a new attorney general. Before the end of the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.