Guatemalan Police Arrest 14 Members of Drug Trafficking Ring

By Dialogo
July 23, 2012

On July 18, prosecutors and members of the Guatemalan Police arrested 14 members of a structure linked to money laundering and drug trafficking rings, an official source announced.

The arrests took place in the course of 30 searches carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in various areas of the capital, as well as in the municipalities of Villa Nueva, Villa Canales, San Miguel Petapa, and Mixco, all close to Guatemala City, the investigating unit specified in a statement issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In addition, the authorities carried out two other searches in the department of Jalapa, located 200 km east of the capital.

The arrestees are suspected of laundering money or other assets, conspiracy to illicitly traffic, sell, and store drugs, conspiracy to illicitly traffic weapons, illicit association, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, the Public Prosecutor’s Office specified.

According to the investigations, the organization laundered money through several firms that made electronic transfers to different countries or sent money out through the capital’s La Aurora Airport, by means of individuals who carried amounts under 10,000 dollars, with the objective of “avoiding the customs declaration inspections.”

The Public Prosecutor’s Office said that approximately 20 people departed from the airport each week, carrying money to avoid the inspections.

The gang also exported drugs through the use of so-called mules, individuals who swallow capsules filled with drugs to transport them in their stomachs.

“The alleged criminal group also engaged in other illicit activities such as stealing money, trafficking drugs and weapons, and robbing residences,” the office specified.