Court Imposes Heavy Sentences on Members of Los Zetas in Guatemala
By Dialogo July 18, 2012
On July 16, a Guatemalan court sentenced 17 Guatemalans linked to the Mexican Los Zetas cartel to prison terms of between 8 and 83 years for a wide variety of crimes, including money laundering and conspiracy to commit three murders.
The presiding judge, Jazmín Barrios, specified that the convictions are for illicit association, illegal armed association, illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of ammunition, conspiracy to commit three murders, and money laundering, among other offenses.
Those sentenced were arrested on July 10, 2011, while holding a party on a rural property in the department of Quiché, on the border with Mexico, approximately 300 km north of the capital.
Among those sentenced is Kevin Overdick, who received 30 years, the son of the drug trafficker Horst Walter Overdick Mejía, arrested in April in a small town near the capital and sought for extradition by the United States.
The longest sentences (83 years) were imposed on Óscar Tiul, alias “Commander Cherry,” and Sebastián Choc Cac, alias “Commander Machucazo.”
Meanwhile, the shortest sentences (8 years) were imposed on Sadia Guillén Ruiz, Andrea Celeste Morales, and Berta Elena Portillo.
Telephone wiretaps were fundamental in allowing the police to find out about the organization of the party and define a strategy for arresting the participants, who included high-ranking leaders of the gang.
On July 13, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) had requested sentences of 154 years in prison for several of the defendants.
Los Zetas, whose networks extend from the southern United States to several countries in Central America, are a group created by military personnel from the Mexican Army’s elite units who deserted years ago to join the Gulf cartel, with which they are now clashing.
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