HomeNewsBriefGang Members, Guards Accused in Guatemala Prison Director's Murder
BRIEF

Gang Members, Guards Accused in Guatemala Prison Director's Murder

BARRIO 18 / 5 DEC 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN AND MIKE LASUSA EN

Authorities in Guatemala have accused several prison guards of conspiring with alleged gang members to murder a prison director, a reminder of how widespread corruption in the penitentiary system fuels violence and criminal control.

On December 4, Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office announced the arrest of four individuals accused of the April 2017 murder of José María Pérez Corado, the former director of the “El Infiernito” maximum security prison.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, members of the Barrio 18 gang organized and ordered Pérez Corado's killing because he refused to provide privileges -- presumably visitation rights or access to cell phones -- to imprisoned gang members.

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

Among those accused are alleged Barrio 18 member Ernesto Alonzo Luarca Quezada, alias “Slapy,” and three guards at the prison. The charges against those implicated include murder, conspiracy to commit murder and illicit association.

Another former director of "El Infiernito," Amílcar Corado González, was murdered in 2012, reportedly on the orders of jailed gang members.

InSight Crime Analysis

Corruption is a longstanding problem in Guatemala's prison system, and it has been on stark display this year. 

For instance, videos surfaced in May purporting to show Nicolás García, then the director of the national penitentiary system, negotiating with incarcerated Barrio 18 members at another maximum security facility. In one of the videos, gang leader Rudy Francisco Alfaro, alias “El Smurf,” appears to threaten García that bloodshed would result from his February transfer to "El Infiernito." Two months after that transfer, Pérez Corado was murdered.

García was fired from the top job in the national prison system in May following the escape of one of the country's highest-profile inmates, Marixa Ethelinda Lemus Pérez, alias “La Patrona." Authorities said the crime boss broke out with help from staff at the facility. (She was recaptured in neighboring El Salvador before the end of the month.)

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Prisons

Overcrowding and a lack of resources are two key drivers of corruption in Guatemala's prison system.

When authorities find themselves unable to assert control in overflowing facilities, they often pass the job of establishing order to criminal groups. And complaints about poor working conditions and low pay are common, incentivizing the acceptance of bribes by prison officials.

Chronic funding shortages have hampered efforts to improve not only the prison system, but also other aspects of Guatemala's law enforcement and justice systems. Prensa Libre recently reported that Guatemala’s general budget for 2018 has not yet been approved, halting the construction of new prisons and reducing the resources available for police and prosecutors.

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

BARRIO 18 / 22 SEP 2016

A new report describes recent shifts in the characteristics of violence in El Salvador, and it offers recommendations for how…

PRISONS / 11 JAN 2012

The taking of at least eight police hostage in a jail in western Venezuela is the sixth incident in which…

GUATEMALA / 17 JUN 2011

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

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.