HomeNewsBriefGuatemalan Drug Lord to be Extradited to US
BRIEF

Guatemalan Drug Lord to be Extradited to US

EXTRADITION / 19 JUL 2012 BY TRACEY KNOTT EN

Guatemalan drug boss Walther Overdick will be extradited to the United States, highlighting the role of extradition in the Central American country's weak justice system.

On June 13, a Guatemalan court approved the extradition of Horst Walther Overdick, alias “the Tiger,” to the United States. Overdick (pictured), a high-profile drug lord with close ties to the Zetas and the Lorenzanas, was arrested in April.

Guatemalan judges have determined that Overdick was responsible for overseeing large shipments of cocaine to the US. The courts also believe that Overdick helped facilitate cocaine trafficking in Guatemala by building clandestine runways and by storing the drugs in warehouses.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez has said that Overdick was a fundamental facilitator of the Zetas’ expansion into Guatemala. Overdick is believed to have provided the cartel with the logistics necessary to operate in the Central American country.

The extradition was requested by the New York Southern District Court, which charges that Overdick helped ship 2,650 lbs. of cocaine to the US in 2002.

InSight Crime Analysis

Extradition plays an important role in the Guatemalan justice system, largely due to the weakness of the courts, which struggle with widespread corruption and impunity. Less than four percent of all cases in the country are prosecuted. Over the past five years, the United Nations’ International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has been working with the government to implement serious reforms -- an uphill battle, according to CICIG director Francisco Dall'Anese.

Guatemala’s top criminals rarely face charges in their own country, and those who are prosecuted are seemingly immune from justice. In 2011, ex-president Alfonso Portillo was tried by national courts for money laundering and embezzlement. In a representative case of the weakness of the Guatemalan justice system, Portillo was acquitted of all charges, despite strong evidence against him, and instead faced extradition to the US.

This is a frequent occurrence in Guatemala, in which the failing court system must rely on extradition to ensure the successful prosecution of criminals. Although some advocate for reform of the extradition process, which is full of loopholes that delay extradition cases, others argue that extradition avoids addressing the fundamental weakness of the Guatemalan justice system.

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 / 26 APR 2019

The Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang’s (Barrio 18) primary criminal economy is extortion, or what they call rent.

CIACS / 7 SEP 2015

(Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Presidential Candidate Sandra Torres was a member of the…

BOLIVIA / 1 JAN 2015

Latin America is the most dangerous region in the world in terms of homicides and 2015 is unlikely to see…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.