HomeNewsBriefLeader of Mendoza Drug Clan Captured in Guatemala
BRIEF

Leader of Mendoza Drug Clan Captured in Guatemala

GUATEMALA / 21 NOV 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

The alleged head of the Mendoza family drug clan in Guatemala, and various other suspected members of the criminal group, have been arrested, striking a serious blow to an organization once considered untouchable. 

A joint investigation by Guatemala's Attorney General's Office and the country's international anti-impunity body CICIG led to the capture of Haroldo Mendoza Matta and nine others on charges including illicit association, homicide,and aggravated robbery, reported Emisoras Unidas. The detainees include the alleged head of security, contract killers, and a bodyguard for the criminal group, reported Prensa Libre.

Authorities believe the ten suspects are linked to the massacre of seven individuals on November 15 in the country's coastal province Izabal, reported elPeriodico

In addition to CICIG members and prosecutors, the operation -- conducted simultaneously in four Guatemalan provinces -- involved 110 anti-drug agents, 100 soldiers, and two helicopters, reported Siglo21.

InSight Crime Analysis

Mendoza Matta's arrest could be an indication of the Mendoza drug trafficking clan's declining influence.

The Mendozas, who have made a fortune over the years from contraband and drug smuggling, were once considered to be protected by well-placed contacts in Guatemalan political circles. Former President Alvaro Colom once remarked the Mendozas were the among the "narcos that nobody touches." A mayor in Peten province -- where the drug trafficking organization is based -- reportedly received campaign donations in 2011 from the Mendozas after he shelled out nearly $2 million on a stadium for a soccer team owned by the drug family.

However, the Mendozas lost key territories following the incursion of Mexican criminal group the Zetas into Guatemala, and many members of the drug clan are thought to have fled the country.

SEE ALSO: Mendozas Profile

Mendoza's arrest is also another victory for the outgoing CICIG to chalk up before its mandate ends in September 2015. Since the CICIG began its work in Guatemala in 2007,  it has overseen the prosecution of former President Alfonso Portillo and outed other instances of corruption and criminal activity within the political system. However, the CICIG has clashed with the Guatemalan government over cases like the genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, and in 2013, President Otto Perez Molina indicated he would not renew CICIG's mandate

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 / 8 AUG 2014

A recent report indicates that Guatemala's prisons are at 280 percent over capacity, a problem exacerbated by poor management, which…

GUATEMALA / 15 AUG 2013

The head of passports in Guatemala's Department of Immigration has been arrested on people smuggling charges, highlighting Guatemala's role as…

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 JUN 2016

A formidable combination of weak state institutions, powerful economic elites and high-level corruption has kept tax rates exceedingly low for…

About InSight Crime

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…