HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Massacre Points to Post-Zetas Scramble
BRIEF

Guatemala Massacre Points to Post-Zetas Scramble

GUATEMALA / 10 FEB 2014 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Officials in Guatemala have connected a massacre of nine people in the northern state of Peten to “score settling” among drug traffickers, in what appears another manifestation of the turmoil afflicting the region since the debilitation of the Zetas Mexican criminal group, and the capture and extradition of several powerful local traffickers.

The nine victims — most related to the same family by blood or marriage, including two young children — were reported to have died at the hands of 20 heavily armed men, who entered a property in the municipality of San Luis in the early morning hours of February 8, reported Siglo 21.

Among the dead were Samuel Xal Xo, three of his sons, the wife of one son and their two young children. Two more people whose connection to the family was not established were also killed.  

According to Minister of the Interior Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, the dead were linked to well known drug trafficker Sebastian Cacao Ico, alias “El Cochero.” Cacao was himself linked to the trafficking organization of Otto Turcios, who was captured in Belize and deported to the United States in 2010, reported Prensa Libre.

As reported by Siglo 21, a surviving son of Xal Xo has claimed the killers were connected to Turcios, suggesting the event was the result of score settling either within an organization or between former allies.

peteenglish

InSight Crime Analysis

As Guatemala’s most northerly province — bordered on two sides by Mexico — Peten is prime a drug trafficking corridor and hotly contested by trafficking groups. In 2011, the Zetas famously massacred 27 farm workers in the municipality of La Libertad, as part of a brutal incursion to establish a presence in the country.

While the Zetas maintain a presence in Guatemala, their power has waned significantly, just as it has in their homeland of Mexico. Dozens of high level members have been arrested or killed in the last two years in Guatemala. 

SEE ALSO: Zetas in Guatemala

But in the absence of the Zetas, Peten has remained a crucial thoroughfare and landing point for drugs, with the Mendoza clan one of the most notable trafficking groups present in the region. The region has also been beset by fighting for control between rival trafficking groups.

These spats strech back years. Turcios, for example, had established a working relationship with another important trafficker, Horst Walther Overdick, who helped facilitate the Zetas’ incursion. Turcios’ apparent link to both the victims and perpetrators of this latest massacre suggests it could be part of the continued fallout from the power vacuum left by his capture in Belize and Overdick’s later capture in Guatemala.

Compartir icon icon icon

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

INFOGRAPHICS / 19 SEP 2011

A year after the massacre of 72 migrants in San Fernando, north Mexico, journalist Gary Moore visited the town and…

ELITES AND CRIME / 28 JUN 2017

Lieutenant Colonel Mauricio López Bonilla, Guatemala's ex-interior minister and previous head of the country's police force, issued orders for his…

COLOMBIA / 9 SEP 2016

Multiple recent assassinations of Colombian human rights defenders are adding to concerns that criminal organizations are attempting to eliminate potential…

About InSight Crime

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. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…