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

EL SALVADOR / 7 JAN 2019

As 2018 came to a close, two things became clear: the once impenetrable armor against corruption that the United States…

EL SALVADOR / 23 MAR 2017

A US senator has warned Guatemala that aid funding could be put in jeopardy if the Central American country's…

ELITES AND CRIME / 14 NOV 2016

In this article, Guatemalan activist Helen Mack discusses the potential reorganization of criminal networks within the government, comments on…

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…