Guatemala’s Los Halcones Train with U.S. Green Berets to Fight Drugs

Guatemala’s Los Halcones Train with U.S. Green Berets to Fight Drugs

By Dialogo
August 19, 2015

Excellent... Marvelous initiative. So that our descendants may be freed from this scourge.
I congratulate the United States for cooperating and the Governments of the countries involved for their initiative. I hope the government of our beautiful and wretched country will also join in this effort and stop with so many false conflicts.
Thank you. What is our Venezuela waiting for to also do its own against this scourge ! excellent initiative I don't like military training much. I belong to the military forces in Chile I was in training. commando. I learned a lot about personal defense. That is very good. They would have to train young people a lot in the Army. I get goosebumps each time I hear the Argentine national anthem. I am a naturalized Argentine. I am very honored and I have an Argentine son. Too bad they took away the draft, they'd have to bring it back to teach young people. to respect the flag. There are lots of young people who don't know the national anthem or where the monument to the flag is either. A VERY GOOD IDEA....... Gentlemen, the countries have to collaborate. This is the reality, but the country consuming is the one who should have policies against drug use, a large number of young people are being lost to this addiction. If measures aren't taken, in a not to distant future we'll see where we'll be going to end up with inertia and lack of values in the population. Unfortunately, young man, if the United States does not take corrective measures with those who use drugs, this simply will go nowhere and those young people will be lost, who knows if any of them could change science for the good of humanity, or thousands of them be inventors of machines, more decent politicians; we have to think about the good of all mankind and not be petty. This type of collaboration and all the initiatives leading to the fight against drug trafficking are very important and necessary in our area and all over the world. But we need to implement educational and preventive procedures to keep people from using drugs. Particularly in the countries with the highest levels of use. It's a shame about the military service that got him out. Not only do they not know the words to the anthem, but they also don't care about the country. They only engage in stealing. I find it troubling that there is ever more preparation against drugs but there are even more drugs. Because if we want to eliminate the problem the bases where it originates are not attacked and intelligence doesn't detect the corrupt politicians and police forces who cover for the narco. It makes me very sad to see young people whose brains are fried, suffering without a future, just to support those satanists who get rich off them my congratulations for fighting against drug trafficking very, very good. If the root of drug use and the political mafias (narco paramilitary groups) are not dismantled, any effort against drugs will be in vain. my comment is that there is no longer any violence in the country I think our forces' training is excellent. This way we Guatemalans will feel not only proud of our men's bravery but also safer for being in experts' hands, what is better than feeling taken care of and I hope some day we put an end to smuggling, gangs, criminals, abusers, congress members and drug traffickers. May God protect you.

For more than six weeks, 22 agents from the Guatemalan National Civil Police’s (PNC) "Los Halcones" (Hawks) unit trained with United States Army Green Berets, participating in exercises focusing on fighting criminal organizations, including drug-trafficking groups that use the Central American country as a transshipment point to transport narcotics into North America.

During the training, Los Halcones, who are part of the elite Anti-narcotics Interdiction and Anti-terrorist Force (FIAAT), studied and practiced Military techniques to execute air and ground operations using helicopters and other equipment provided by the U.S.

The training, which occurred in different parts of Guatemala between May and July, covered tactical movements, air mobile operations, first aid, ground navigation, marksmanship, and a course on selecting objectives.

Approximately 60 agents participated in the training for rapid shock actions against drug traffickers, according to Guatemalan Vice Minister for Drug Enforcement Pahola Ovalle Cabrera.

“They have undertaken a supremely difficult course, which has pushed them to the very edge of their physical capabilities,” Vice Minister Ovalle said. “The instructors, both from abroad and [from Guatemala], have selected the best agents from among many applicants. And surely, they will now place all their efforts into the head-on combat against drug trafficking and will be a great benefit for their country.”

A cooperative effort

The training is part of the ongoing cooperation between Guatemala and the U.S., who collaborate by sharing resources, information, and training in the fight against international trafficking and transnational organized crime.

For example, in 2013, the U.S. donated six UH-1Y helicopters, which each have the capacity to carry 13 people and are collectively worth $11 million, to Guatemala.

Los Halcones’ objective is to “fight head-on against drug trafficking in this country and prevent it from causing greater harm,” Vice Min. Ovalle said. “I am satisfied with the training that the Los Halcones rapid action group has received. The support and international cooperation have been vital.”

The unit “is the best Special Forces has to offer, and they are prepared and ready to combat drug trafficking, even giving their lives to do so if need be,” said Oscar Boc Ixcol, a Los Halcones instructor.

The agents who trained with the Green Berets had to pass difficult “selection tests to join this force,” Vice Minister of Internal Affairs Elmer Sosa said. “They were chosen based on the highest standards of trustworthiness, psychological tests, and socioeconomic studies. We need to have the best agents in this elite force to fight against organized crime and drug trafficking.”

The 60 participating agents belong to the PNC, specialize in drug enforcement, and are assigned missions from their base in Guatemala City.

The importance of cooperation

Cooperation with the U.S. is an important component of Guatemala’s fight against drug-trafficking groups and other transnational criminal organizations.

“The support we have received from the United States has been important, above all with regards to training in land interdictions, interdiction techniques, and ground navigation, among others,” Vice Minister Sosa said.

The recent training “represents critical support for Guatemala,” said Brenda Muñoz, a security analyst and former drug prosecutor in the western department of Quetzaltenango.

The training will help Los Halcones use equipment donated by the U.S. effectively to fight drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

“It is important that the United States provide training support,” Muñoz said. “First of all, because doing it themselves is very expensive, and secondly, because they should make sure resources they donate are used effectively.”

As of early August, Guatemalan security forces have seized five tons of cocaine in 2015 after confiscating 3.5 tons of the narcotic in all of 2014, Vice Min. Sosa added.

Guatemala is devoting substantial resources to its counter-narcotics fight.

For example, Guatemala currently has more than 1,000 drug enforcement agents and 35 complete canine security teams that conduct operations at international airports in La Aurora and Mundo Maya, in Guatemala City and Petén, respectively, in addition to the ports of Quetzal on the Pacific Ocean and Santo Tomás de Castilla and Puerto Barrios, both of which are on the Atlantic Ocean.

A number of task forces also are operating throughout the country, including the Tecún Umán Task Force in San Marcos, which is on the border with Mexico, with the Maya-Chortí Task Force conducting security missions on the border with Honduras.