HomeNewsBriefUS Treasury Blacklists Guatemalan Trafficker Working for Zetas
BRIEF

US Treasury Blacklists Guatemalan Trafficker Working for Zetas

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 21 AUG 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The US Treasury Department has added an alleged Guatemalan drug trafficker and ally of Mexico's Zetas to its kingpin list, in a case that highlights the strong connections between Guatemalan organized crime and Mexican cartels.

Jairo Estuardo Orellana Morales, alias "El Pelon," was labelled a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker under the US Kingpin Act. In addition to cocaine trafficking, Orellana has been linked to a number of drug trafficking-related murders in Guatemala, and officials stated that he "employs extreme violence" in his operations.

Orellana also has links to the Lorenzana crime family, specifically Marta Julia Lorenzana Cordon, with whom he had a child, and who was sanctioned under the same act in November 2012.

According to the Treasury chart (see map below), Orellana uses three principal routes to traffic cocaine into Mexico, all originating in Guatemala's Zacapa department near the eastern border with Honduras, and moving up through the northern and western Peten, Quiche and Huehuetenango departments, respectively.

Pelon

InSight Crime Analysis

The Zetas have established a firm territorial presence throughout Guatemala, and as of 2011, Orellana was believed to be in charge of their operations in the Zacapa department.

SEE ALSO: Zetas in Guatemala

His role appears to go significantly beyond serving as a local drug transporter -- as is commonly the case with local traffickers working for Mexican cartels in Central America's Northern Triangle countries. Orellana reportedly participated in the Zetas takeover of the Peten department in 2011, and was one of two people identified by prosecutors as ordering the massacre of 27 farmworkers in the department.

Orellana has also directed "tumbes" -- the theft of cocaine shipments from rival groups -- in both Guatemala and neighboring Honduras. Earlier this year, he was targeted for assassination after allegedly stealing 1.5 tons of cocaine linked to Zetas' rivals the Sinaloa Cartel.

Orellana's links to the Lorenzanas, local drug transporters who have received a number of blows in recent years, are consistent with his Zetas connections. Although the Lorenzanas initially worked with the Sinaloa Cartel, the Zetas are believed to have now built alliances with key members of the fractured clan.

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

CONTRABAND / 2 AUG 2017

Guatemala's Defense Minister has denounced that criminal groups continue to infiltrate the country's customs system, suggesting that deeper structural…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 JUL 2018

The Guatemala Interior Ministry’s withdrawal of police assigned to the CICIG, its internationally-backed anti-graft body, is a likely sign that…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 27 JUL 2016

Authorities in Mexico continue to focus on hunting down the heads of the country's most prominent cartels, pursuing a kingpin…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…