Four Alleged Members of Mexican ‘Los Zetas’ Cartel Arrested in Guatemala
By Dialogo December 22, 2010
Four alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel ‘Los Zetas’ were detained on 20 December by the Guatemalan police in the department of Alta Verapaz, under a state of emergency imposed by the government in that area along the Mexican border penetrated by drug traffickers.
The four detainees were arrested on the outskirts of Cobán, a city in the department of Alta Verapaz, about 220 km north of the Guatemalan capital, during a highway operation mounted by the police, an AFP reporter observed.
One of the men had a Mexican passport and another lacked documents, nourishing the agents’ suspicions that they might belong to ‘Los Zetas,’ who have controlled part of the area for the last year, as the authorities acknowledge.
Four 12-gauge shotguns, three 9-mm handguns, and more than two hundred bullets were seized in the operation, along with a white all-terrain vehicle in which the detainees were traveling.
These are the first detentions reported since 19 December, when President Álvaro Colom decreed the state of emergency for the entire department of Alta Verapaz, a jungle region used as a center of operations by drug cartels and inhabited by Mayan and mestizo communities.
Alta Verapaz forms part of the almost one thousand kilometers of border that Guatemala shares with Mexico, a country severely impacted by drug trafficking.
The thirty-day decree suspends several constitutional rights, such as the freedom to organize and protest, at the same time that it authorizes the government to order the detention of those suspected of disturbing the peace and prohibits the carrying of firearms except by the security forces.