HomeNewsGuatemala's Lorenzana Clan in Turmoil as Assassination Targets Third Generation
NEWS

Guatemala's Lorenzana Clan in Turmoil as Assassination Targets Third Generation

COCAINE / 10 MAR 2022 BY ALEX PAPADOVASSILAKIS EN

The recent assassination of a former drug lord's grandson may stem from disputes between members of a family clan already rocked by arrests and extraditions.

Hans Broiner Lemus Lorenzana, a 26-year-old scion of the Lorenzana drug clan, was gunned down by unidentified assailants early on March 2 at a restaurant in the eastern Zacapa province, according to reports in local press and which InSight Crime confirmed with the Attorney General's Office.

Authorities discovered over 80 bullets casings at the scene, according to a police report cited by Prensa Libre. Two others were killed in the attack – both believed to be Lemus Lorenzana’s bodyguards.

Lemus Lorenzana is the grandson of Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, one of Guatemala’s most powerful drug lords up until his arrest and subsequent extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges in the early 2010s. He died in a US prison last year while serving a life sentence for drug trafficking.

SEE ALSO: Betrayal in the Family Drug Business: The Lorenzanas in Guatemala

Guatemala authorities are still investigating the motive behind Lemus Lorenzana’s shooting, but initial theories point to possible disputes within the family clan.

“Our assumption is that it could be some kind of problem within the organization,” Alan Ajiatas, sub-director of the Attorney General's Office anti-narcotics unit, told InSight Crime. “It has all the characteristics of a settling of scores within [drug trafficking groups].”

He added, however, that it is too early to draw concrete conclusions.

Lemus Lorenzana's criminal past is murky. He had not faced any drug trafficking charges prior to his assassination. And according to Ajiatas, the Attorney General’s Office has no record of his prior detention for drug trafficking. However, local press reports indicate he was arrested in June 2013 while allegedly transporting cocaine in western Guatemala.

In recent posts on social media, Lemus Lorenzana alluded to his family’s ties to the drug trade. “When it’s in your blood what choice do you have,” he wrote in an Instagram post last December.

Lemus Lorenzana’s assassination comes less than a year after his mother, Marta Julia Lorenzana Cordón, and his uncle, Haroldo Jeremías Lorenzana Cordón, were extradited to the US to face drug trafficking charges.

The Lorenzana clan was formerly one of Guatemala’s most prominent drug rings. Based in Zacapa, the group trafficked vast quantities of cocaine to Mexico and the United States in partnership with powerful Mexican groups like the Sinaloa cartel, up until its leadership was hammered by a series of arrests in the early 2010s.

InSight Crime Analysis

If initial theories prove correct, Lemus Lorenzana’s murder could signal competition within the Lorenzana clan after leaders were detained.

“It’s about positioning and who will occupy certain posts left vacant within the group,” said Ajiatas in reference to one of the “stronger” hypotheses for the assassination.

“The dynamic is that someone within the same family is taking the lead,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Geographic Profile: Zacapa, Guatemala

Such transitions are nothing new for the Lorenzana clan. The group has undergone a series of internal reshuffles, most notably with the arrest and extradition of family patriarch Waldemar Lorenzana and two of his sons in the early 2010s, leaving the patriarch’s other children and relatives in charge of the family business.

This included Lemus Lorenzana’s mother and uncle – accused by US prosecutors of leading the family clan in the years after their father and siblings fell into the hands of US justice. Another of Waldemar Lorenzana’s grandsons, Haroldo Waldemar Lorenzana Terraza, is wanted by Guatemala and US authorities, elPeriódico reported.

Aside from provoking internal struggles, the numerous operations targeting the group’s leadership have also weakened its operations and scope, perhaps encouraging smaller drug rings to compete for the smuggling routes once dominated by the Lorenzanas.

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

BOLIVIA / 5 FEB 2021

The seizure of a cocaine-laced package, bound for Thailand, at an airport in Bolivia, shines light on the little-known drug…

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 2 MAY 2022

In 2013, Nicolás Maduro became president of one of the world’s most important cocaine hubs, inheriting a unique drug trafficking…

CANADA / 13 DEC 2021

The story of the Mexican cartels and their influence abroad has mostly focused on the United States. But a number…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…