HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Detains 19 Police For Criminal Ties
BRIEF

Guatemala Detains 19 Police For Criminal Ties

GUATEMALA / 20 SEP 2012 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Guatemalan authorities arrested 19 police officers alleged to have carried out kidnapping and robberies, highlighting the degree of corruption within the Guatemalan police and the urgent need for reform.

The officers were detained on charges of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and abuse of authority, among other crimes, having operated in several zones of the capital Guatemala City, reported Siglo 21. The group is said to have stolen at least one million quetzales (over $125,000), and officials believe that those arrested were also involved in laundering money from drug trafficking.  

Prensa Libre reported that the group committed the crimes while on duty and used official police identification, uniforms, and vehicles as cover.

Several of the police belonged to a unit tasked with transportation security and were also allegedly involved in illegal traffic stops, blackmail, and carjackings.

InSight Crime Analysis

The officers' arrest highlights the urgent need for police reform in Guatemala. As an International Crisis Group (ICG) report released in July found, the National Civil Police (PNC) is regarded by the public and corrupt and incompetent. In the face of Guatemalan criminal gangs and Mexican drug traffickers in the country, they are often poorly trained and outgunned, yet progress in addressing these issues has been slow and burdened by financial constraints. For example, authorities opened a new Officer Training School in August, but did not have enough guns to equip graduates.

Some of the police arrested belonged to a unit that is tasked with providing security for the Transurbano buses, which are part of the Transmetro Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and use prepaid fare cards. The officers' alleged robbery and blackmail of motorists highlights the fact that, despite the Transmetro's potential for cutting down on extortion of bus drivers and passengers by gangs due to the lack of cash transactions, corrupt officers can circumvent this and pose a greater danger to citizens than gangs do. 

As the ICG report noted, there is concern that President Otto Perez, will continue to rely on the military rather than on the police for security. Since taking power in January, he has increased the role of the armed forces in combating drug trafficking and created new military units tasked with fighting organized crime. This focus could have potentially harmful affects on the speed with which police corruption is addressed.

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

CIACS / 3 SEP 2015

Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina's late-night resignation could upend deeply entrenched military criminal networks or -- as has been Guatemalan…

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 21 AUG 2013

The US Treasury Department has added an alleged Guatemalan drug trafficker and ally of Mexico's Zetas to its kingpin list,…

GUATEMALA / 22 FEB 2013

Guatemala's Minister of Government admitted that an elite group of prisoners are enjoying privileges in Guatemalan jails, another example…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…