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

COCAINE / 24 FEB 2021

Eight Democratic senators have sent the first signals that the United States will divorce itself from Honduras President Juan Orlando…

ARGENTINA / 5 JUL 2022

Why did drug trafficking enjoy such a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic…

EL SALVADOR / 20 JUL 2022

The US government has added dozens of individuals to a list of allegedly corrupt actors in Central America.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…