Guatemalan army to expel drug dealers from park

Guatemalan army to expel drug dealers from park

By Dialogo
August 25, 2010

GUATEMALA CITY – President Álvaro Colom said he plans to send soldiers
to the Laguna del Tigre National Park to drive out the drug dealers who have
overtaken the area in the northern part of the country.
Colom said beginning next month, the army “will take back” the park by
kicking out narcotics traffickers.
“Beginning Sept. 15, I have ordered the army to enter and take back Laguna
del Tigre. Goodbye to the drug traffickers and their herds,” he said, as reported by
the Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre.
Colom used the word “herd” in reference to the illegal cattle ranches the
drug traffickers have established as cover for their drug dealing.
“They have been threatening me, but I'm not afraid of them,” Colom said, as
reported by Prensa Libre. “They hate me, but I won’t retreat. I
don't want to ever see another head of cattle there, because I’m going to butcher it
and distribute it among the poor.”

Colom has said numerous times he wants to let the cattle loose in the park,
which is in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in the northern province of Petén bordering
Mexico and Belize.
Colom, however, did not reveal how many soldiers would be deployed or how
many drug dealers are doing business on the 334,080 hectares (825,000 acres) piece
of land, according to EFE.
Officials have found hidden landing strips, narcotics shipments, undocumented
migrant routes and numerous cattle-raising operations on ranches that have been
acquired illegally.
The Laguna del Tigre also is being threatened by widespread logging, hunting
and forest fires. In July, Colom renewed the license for French company Perenco to
keep drilling for oil, which has angered environmental groups.

Nicaraguan police seize 230 kilograms of cocaine

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Police in the department of León have arrested a
truck driver after discovering the vehicle was transporting 230 kilograms (506
pounds) of cocaine.
The truck, which was headed to Guatemala, was stopped as part of operation
“Trojan Horse,” during which police discovered the narcotic wrapped in 187 packages,
said Freddy Arana, the León department attorney general.
“We will charge Jesús Rafael Rodríguez Delgado with the crime of
international trafficking, and the penalty is 10 to 20 years in prison,” Arana said.
“The Public Ministry will act with the full force of the law.”
Arana said Rodríguez was paid US$15,000 by a criminal organization to
transport the narcotic, as reported by EFE.

Honduran authorities seize 500 kilograms of cocaine

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Authorities arrested four and seized
500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cocaine on a truck that was transporting the
narcotic along the Atlantic coast, officials said.

The drug had been flown into the country on a twin-engine plane officials
found on the banks of the Chamelecón River, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) north
of Tegucigalpa, according to Radio Amé
Security Minister Óscar Álvarez said police also seized three other vehicles
in the operation.

Dominican Republic: International traffic ring dismantled

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – An international narcotics
trafficking syndicate run by five Colombians, two Dominicans, a Mexican and a
Haitian that operated in the eastern region has been dismantled by the country’s
counter-narcotics agency (DNCD).
The drug ring had amassed US$50 million in assets, according to the DNCD.
The nine suspects also have been linked to a shipment of narcotics seized in
a parking lot in the nation’s capital on Aug. 19 and another shipment of drugs
recently confiscated on a Venezuelan-registered plane that landed in the eastern
town of Higüey, according to the DNCD.

Shining Path guerrilla leaders running new drug gang in Peru

PICHARI, Peru – Shining Path guerrilla leaders have started a narcotics
operation in the southern Valley of the Apurímac and Ene rivers (VRAE), where 76% of
the country’s cocaine is produced, a high-ranking military commander said.
“The Quispe Palomino clan is a neo-firm in drug trafficking in the VRAE,”
said Gen. Leonel Cabrera, the chief of the region’s special military command,
EFE reported.
He was referencing the Quispe Palomino brothers, who are known by the aliases
of “Comrade Raúl,” “Comrade Alipio” and “Comrade José.” Víctor Quispe Palomino,
“Comrade José,” is suspected of leading the guerrilla group.
Cabrera said the gang is “just another drug trafficking firm in the VRAE,”
EFE reported.
The VRAE composes jungle sections of the southern regions of Ayacucho, Cuzco,
Junín and Huancavelica, and stretches about 326 square kilometers (125 square