From January to March 2021, Guatemalan police forces dealt multiple blows to narcotrafficking, capturing 12 suspects wanted for extradition by the United States due to their connections with international narcotrafficking organizations.
On March 18, Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC, in Spanish) anti-drug agents reported the arrest of Byron Alcides Berganza Espino, member of a gang that has been smuggling cocaine into the United States since 2017.
“He was responsible for transporting, directing, and managing part of the organization’s cocaine trafficking activities in Guatemala,” the PNC posted on Twitter.
On March 17, the PNC reported on Twitter the arrest of a Mexican national named Luis Gonzalo Gutiérrez, alias Licenciado, who was wanted to appear in court at the Southern District of Florida. Since July 2015, Gutiérrez has allegedly been coordinating cocaine shipments from Colombia to the United States, the Prensa Libre news portal reported.
On March 13, during another operation, the PNC reported the arrest in Escuintla department of José Widalty Cruz Ojeda, alias Comejón, who had a judicial process underway in the United States for cocaine trafficking.
Nine narcotraffickers less
In February, authorities arrested seven criminals — in addition to two more in January — who were linked to narcotrafficking, apprehending them for extradition.
On February 26, in Quetzaltenango department, agents arrested Gersom Blas Muñoz Cifuentes, known as El Duke, who was wanted by the court of the Eastern District of Texas for belonging to a criminal organization that traffics cocaine, at least since 2015, Prensa Libre reported.
Virginia Margarita Bourdet Delgado, age 47, was arrested in San José Pinula on February 19, for belonging to a gang that smuggles heroin and cocaine into the United States. The woman was wanted by the court of the Eastern District of Virginia, Guatevisión reported on its website.
On February 15, the PNC reported the arrest of Maynor Jovito Salazar Méndez, in Chiquimula department. Salazar was wanted by the Eastern District of Texas for belonging to an organized criminal ring that exported drugs to the United States.
“The investigation identified him as a member of the organization since at least 2015 […]; he was responsible for transporting, directing, managing, and supervising this organization’s drug trafficking activities in Guatemala,” the Guatemalan Office of the Attorney General posted on Twitter.
On February 13, authorities captured Alfredo Ramón Marroquín Escobar, in Ayutla, San Marcos department. The Guatemalan has an extradition request from the court of the Eastern District of Texas, Canal Antigua reported.
On February 12, the PNC also detained Mario Iván Amézquita Mérida, alias El Charo. On February 7, they arrested Geovani de Jesús Aguirre González. And on February 3, they captured Carlos Enrique Cáceres Molina — all are charged with cocaine trafficking and wanted for extradition by the United States, said Prensa Libre.
On January 16, the Guatemalan Office of the Attorney General captured Álvaro Oliva, age 47. On January 14, the Swiss portal swissinfo.ch reported that the PNC had detained Mario Alfredo Hurtarte Ramírez, known as alias Cantinflas, age 35, at La Aurora international airport. Both were also wanted by U.S. authorities for participating in narcotrafficking groups.