Guatemala: 664 police officers added to counter-narcotics force
By Dialogo January 11, 2013
GUATEMALA CITY – A total of 664 policemen, trained in field techniques and tactics, recently joined the fight against narco-trafficking in Guatemala, which has become a transshipment point for drugs, Minister of the Interior Mauricio López said.
“This will give us an operational capability within our country and improve security along the borders Guatemala shares with El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and Mexico,” he said. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez said the new officers also would have contact with international agencies in their fight against narco-trafficking, a transnational crime.
There are about 25,000 police officers in Guatemala, which has a population of about 14.3 million.
Like the rest of Central America, Guatemala is home to a turf war between cartels and organized crime groups fighting for control of lucrative smuggling routes.
Nearly 90% of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.
Guatemala is among 14 nations participating in Operation Martillo, an international mission that gathers Western Hemisphere and European nations in an effort to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus.
[AFP (Guatemala), 10/01/2013; Correo del Orinoco (Venezuela), 09/01/2013]