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

GUATEMALA / 5 APR 2013

Guatemalan authorities have captured the leader of a Mara Salvatrucha cell, amidst reports that the gang has…

EL CHAPO / 17 JUL 2019

A US federal court has sentenced former Sinaloa Cartel capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera to life in prison, but…

EL SALVADOR / 26 APR 2019

Although gangs dominate the extortion markets in Central America, corrupt state agents will collude with them and even run some of their own extortion schemes.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…