Guatemala Detains Alleged Zeta In Massacre Probe

By Dialogo
May 20, 2011

Guatemalan police have detained a suspected leader of Mexico’s Zetas drug gang accused of three murders linked to the weekend massacre of 27 farm workers near the Mexican border.

Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said Hugo Alvaro Gomez Vasquez, 37, was a local member of the brutal Zetas gang, whom authorities blame for the worst massacre since the Central American nation’s civil war ended in 1996.

“We consider that he could be linked to the massacre since he has a leadership role in the criminal structure,” said attorney general Claudia Paz y Paz.

Clues found at the crime scene at “Los Cocos” farm led to Gomez’s arrest, Menocal said.

Gomez is accused of taking part in the kidnappings and murders of three people, including the niece of the farm’s owner, last week.

The killers appeared to have been seeking to murder the farm’s owner, who is now under investigation for suspected links to drug trafficking.

President Alvaro Colom has declared a state of emergency in Peten department where the killings took place.

The Zetas — a gang set up by elite army deserters notorious for brutal slayings in Mexico — have recently made in-roads in Guatemala, prompting the government last December to declare a one-month “state of siege” in another northern department, Alta Verapaz.

Although Guatemala has one of Latin America’s highest murder rates, the Central American nation is unaccustomed to the brutal, large-scale killings which have rocked parts of Mexico in recent months.




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