Authorities say that seven people killed at a Guatemalan clinic were bodyguards for a local Zetas boss, suggesting that a new rift has emerged between Guatemala's drug trafficking organizations.
The gunmen pulled up in five cars outside a Guatemala City clinic at about 1.25 p.m. on November 22, armed with AK-47 assault rifles. They entered the building and rounded up six men on the first and second floors, then executed them in a park outside the building. Another man was shot inside an office while reportedly trying to escape.
The victims are believed to be the bodyguards of Jairo Orellana, alias "El Pelon," a Zetas boss responsible for coordinating drug trafficking activities in the eastern province of Zacapa. One was identified as a former police officer.
Orellana reportedly left the clinic and escaped in a vehicle minutes after the shootings took place. Guatemala's government minister said that Orellana had been visiting the clinic since May, receiving "aesthetic" treatments. Orellana was registered at the clinic under the name "Alex Lopez."
InSight Crime Analysis
The massacre appears to have been well planned, and the assassins seemed to know the exact identities of their intended targets. This suggests that Orellana's movements had been tracked for some time. If Orellana was in fact receiving cosmetic surgery at the clinic, this could suggest that he was aware of the threat, and wanted to alter his appearance to hide from his enemies.
Orellana is a key player in Guatemela's drug trade. He has a child with the daughter of drug trafficking patriarch Waldemar Lorenzana, of the Lorenzanas clan. He works for the Zetas, who are currently allied with Walther Overdick, a Guatemalan trafficker who played an important role in facilitating their entry to the country in 2007. While the brutality and the disciplined nature of the attack points to the Zetas, it's likely that Orellana also had enemies within the Lorenzana network, as the group had lost ground to the Zetas.
[Read InSight Crime's report on the Zetas in Guatemala].