HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Drug Lord Finally Faces Extradition to US
BRIEF

Guatemala Drug Lord Finally Faces Extradition to US

EXTRADITION / 7 MAR 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Guatemala’s President Otto Perez has approved an extradition request from the United States for drug trafficker Waldemar Lorenzana, though the long delayed process underscores the difficulties in bringing major Guatemalan criminals to justice.

Exactly one year and seven months after a Guatemalan criminal court approved a United States’ extradition request for the leader of the Lorenzanas drug trafficking clan, Perez and other government officials ratified the decision for him to be extradited to face trial for trafficking cocaine into the United States between 1999 and 2003, reported Prensa Libre.

According to the New Jersey and New York courts, the Lorenzanas clan was the intermediary between Colombian gangs and Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and had ties to the drug trafficking network run by Guatemalan Otto Herrera Garcia, who was considered a key Sinaloa Cartel ally in Guatemala and is currently imprisoned in the United States.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite being a US ally, extradition to the United States from Guatemala has never been a smooth process, and Lorenzana’s case is no exception. Notably, Otto Herrera was caught in Colombia, making his extradition much easier.

SEE MORE: Coverage of Extradition

Lorenzana has delayed his extradition through use of legal loopholes, and may well also have benefited from Guatemala’s weak and corrupt judicial system

The lack of political will from Guatemalan authorities is reflected in the fact that Lorenzana, like other extradited criminals in the past, faces no charges against him in his own country. Meanwhile, his family continues to operate more than a dozen legitimate businesses in Guatemala, through which illicit profits are likely laundered.

The Lorenzanas are one of Guatemala’s most established and recognized trafficking organizations, with influence stretching throughout the western states of Izapal and Zacapa. The group is known to have high-level political connections, which likely aided Lorenzana’s quick release from prison in 2008 after being arrested for weapons possession. His recapture in 2011 followed intense pressure from the United States.

Nevertheless, delayed as it might be, the fact Lorenzana is finally going to face extradition and likely imprisonment in the United States still represents a success. While his organization may continue to operate, he will be cut off from having any hand in its running and the possibility of escape will be greatly reduced.

Lorenzana may also provide important information in exchange for a more lenient sentence, meaning further law enforcement actions against his and other trafficking groups remains a possibility for the near future.

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

GUATEMALA / 21 MAR 2011

There is a troubling trend in Guatemala that is very hard to measure: opium poppy production, which provides the raw…

COLOMBIA / 28 FEB 2014

The US State Department's annual Human Rights report highlights how in Latin America deeply ingrained corruption fuelled by organized crime…

GUATEMALA / 4 MAY 2017

In our May 4 Facebook Live session, Co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Senior Edior Mike LaSusa about InSight Crime's…

Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

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. …