Guatemala looks for alleged drug trafficker Jairo Orellana
By Dialogo September 27, 2013
Guatemalan security agents are looking for Jairo Estuardo Orellana Morales, an alleged drug trafficker who is suspected of working with Los Zetas. Orellana Morales, who is known as “El Pelon,” is also suspected by Guatemalan authorities of several homicides.
Guatemala is cooperating with the United States, which is seeking the extradition of El Pelon. Guatemalan authorities ordered the arrest and extradition of El Pelon on Aug. 22, 2013, two days after the U.S. Treasury Department placed him on its list of Specially Designated Drug Traffickers (SDNT). The U.S. government requested El Pelon’s extradition.
The Treasury Department alleges that Orellana Morales is an associate of Los Zetas. The transnational criminal organization is based in Mexico but also operates in Guatemala and other Central American countries.
Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States are cooperating in the fight against Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, La Familia Michoacana, and other transnational criminal organizations. Most of the time, the cooperation involves the sharing of information. Extradition of suspected drug traffickers is part of the ongoing cooperation.
Cooperation between countries which are affected by drug cartel activities is an important component of the fight against transnational criminal organizations, said Eruviel Tirado, coordinator of the National Security Program at the Ibero-American University (UIA).
“In the medium and long run, this type of action will serve as a deterrent for those who cooperate with or work for organized crime. They will be caught by the authorities,” Tirado said.
Drug trafficking ties
Authorities suspect El Pelon of conspiring to traffic drugs with Marta Julia Lorenzana Cordon, who was placed on the U.S. government’s SDNT list in 2011. She is the daughter of alleged drug trafficker Waldemar Lorenzana, who is known as “The Patriarch.”
On July 15, 2013, Guatemala’s First Tribunal of the Court of Appeals denied The Patriarch’s final appeal to avoid extradition to the U.S.
No date has been scheduled for his extradition. The Patriarch is charged in the U.S. with having conspired with the Sinaloa Cartel to smuggle thousands of tons of cocaine into the U.S. The Sinaloa Cartel is led by fugitive kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Battling Los Zetas
Guatemalan security forces have completed several successful security operations against Los Zetas since Otto Perez Molina became president in 2012:
• In January 2012, the same month Perez was sworn in as president, Guatemalan and U.S. security forces participated in “Operation Martillo,” a military operation which cracked down on drug trafficking and other illegal activities on the country’s west coast.
• In July, 2012, Guatemala’s Court of Constitutionality (COC) ordered the extradition to Mexico of Daniel Perez Rojas, a Los Zetas founder who is known as “El Catchetes.” He was serving a 47 year prison sentence in Guatemala for killing 11 rival drug traffickers in March 2008.
• Also in July 2012, National Police agents and Army soldiers captured 27 alleged Los Zetas operatives, all of them Mexican nationals, in the suburb of Quetzal, near Guatemala City. The suspects allegedly engaged in killings, extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking and arms smuggling. Security agents raided 75 homes and confiscated 500 marijuana plants worth $200,000, several firearms, and several stolen cars and motorcycles.
• In August 2012, Guatemalan security agents captured three suspected Los Zetas operatives who were allegedly plotting to kill a Guatemalan prosecutor.
Los Zetas continues
In July, Mexican Marines captured Los Zetas kingpin Miguel Angel Trevino Morales and two of his operatives near Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. He is known as “40” and “Commander 40.” Commander 40 was replaced as leader of Los Zetas by his brother, Omar Trevino Morales, who is known as “Commander 42.”
The capture of Commander 40 has not slowed the criminal activities of Los Zetas, and security forces in Mexico, Guatemala, and the U.S. must remain vigilant, said security analyst Tirado.
“What we are seeing is that they are coming up with areas of influence, they are forming alliances with local criminals (in Guatemala),” Tirado said. “Disputes between the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas for drug trafficking routes will continue, increasing violence and tension in Central American countries.”
What do you think of the cooperation between Guatemala and Mexico and the U.S. in the fight against drug cartels?
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You need to add Maryorit and Baledit. They are the ones running the business and they are playing dumb with the government. Who cares! Crime was there before we were born!