HomeNewsBriefGuatemalan Court Authorizes Extradition of Drug Kingpin
BRIEF

Guatemalan Court Authorizes Extradition of Drug Kingpin

EXTRADITION / 8 AUG 2012 BY CLAIRE O'NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Guatemala announced it will extradite Waldemar Lorenzana, head of the Lorenzana crime family, to the US to face drug trafficking charges, continuing a recent trend of high-level Guatemalan criminals being sent to the US to face justice.

On August 6 a Guatemalan court authorized the extradition of Waldemar Lorenzana Lima to the United States, where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges.

According to US authorities, Waldemar, alias “The Patriarch,” oversaw a drug trafficking network that functioned as an intermediary between Colombian criminal organizations and Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has alleged that Lorenzana facilitated the entrance of “thousands of tons of cocaine” into the United States. The investigation also indicates that between 1999 and 2003, the Lorenzana family was linked to Otto Herrera García, who the US designated as “one of the biggest drug traffickers in Central America” before his capture in Colombia and extradition to the United States in 2008.

Before a date can be set for Lorenzana’s transfer to US authorities, Guatemalan President Otto Perez must ratify the extradition order.

InSight Crime Analysis

US pressure and support have prompted Guatemala to arrest more high level drug traffickers in the past two years than in the previous decade. Despite the attempts of many suspects to delay or stop their extradition by claiming the process is “unconstitutional,” the Guatemalan courts have successfully resolved several high profile cases in the first half of this year. Guatemala ruled to extradite Waldemar Lorenzana’s son, Elio Lorenzana, to the United States in February following his arrest in November 2011. Just ten days later, the court also authorized the extradition of Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias “Juan Chamale,” who the DEA ranked as Guatemala’s top trafficker.

The removal of several key organized crime players is a clear victory for the government, but the fact that the suspects do not face any charges in Guatemala points to the continued weakness of the country’s law enforcement and judicial institutions. While the DEA took only an advisory role in the actual operation that lead to Lorenzana’s capture, his arrest occurred solely on the basis of the US extradition request, rather than due to political will on the part of Guatemalan authorities. Furthermore, although the Lorenzanas’ assets have been frozen in the United States, the family still gains revenue from the fifteen legitimate businesses it operates in Guatemala.

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 / 9 JUN 2011

Guatemala's president says intelligence information indicates that fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, alias 'El Chapo,' is moving between Honduras…

ELITES AND CRIME / 12 MAY 2017

A former mayoral candidate turned criminal leader in Guatemala has escaped from one of the country's detention centers, further…

EL SALVADOR / 9 JUL 2015

A top US State Department official said it would be an "intelligent" move for El Salvador and Honduras to consider…

About InSight Crime

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. …