Firearms and Solar Panels Discovered in Guatemalan Jail

By Dialogo
June 14, 2011

During an inspection, Guatemalan security forces seized eight firearms, two grenades, cellular telephones, and solar panels for generating electricity in a jail on the northern outskirts of the capital, Interior Minister Carlos Menocal announced.

Dozens of rounds of ammunition were also found during the operation, conducted in a sector designated for gang members in the Zone 18 Preventive Detention Center for Men, Menocal specified.

The handguns had been brought into the jail complex seven months ago, he specified.

Menocal thought that the weapons were part of a plan to riot or escape, but “a mass escape would be very difficult, since it’s impossible for them to cross the perimeter security areas.”

The minister explained that the inmates used the solar panels to supply themselves with electricity and recharge their cellular telephones, since their power was cut off.

As a consequence of the discovery, an investigation was begun into the jail’s guards and administrative personnel.

Youth gangs, considered armed wings of drug-trafficking organizations, have taken over marginalized sectors of the capital.