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.

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

COCAINE / 23 MAR 2022

The United States government has ramped up its pursuit of one of Guatemala’s most enduring drug clans – the so-called…

CONTRABAND / 18 MAY 2022

Ranchers from Mexico's eastern state of Veracruz know a way to buy cheap cattle: Drive to a remote part of…

COCAINE / 22 FEB 2021

An anti-narcotics operation targeting an alleged trafficking ring in Guatemala has shed light on the increasing importance of small, often…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…