The Armed Forces of Guatemala and Honduras are working in cooperation to fight organized crime through the Maya-Chortí Task Force, which will improve security in the region along the border the two countries share.
In early January, Soldiers from both countries, as well as other security forces, began coordinating air, sea, and land operations through the Task Force, which fights drug trafficking and other criminal enterprises. The members of the Task Force have the authority to execute arrest warrants on both sides of the border.
The Task Force will gather intelligence on the activities of drug trafficking organizations and other criminal groups engage in weapons smuggling, contraband, and human trafficking and develop operations in specific areas on both sides of the border. Security forces from both countries will also exchange information to maximize the effectiveness of the Task Force.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina signed an agreement to establish the Task Force.
“We need to have a presence at the level of this Task Force… immigration, police, the state Public Ministry prosecutors and the judiciary... The mission of this Task Force is to have a presence guaranteeing the control and authority of the State throughout the border (with Guatemala),” President Hernández said, according to a press release from the Office of the Presidency.
Air, Sea, and Land Operations
To attain the best results and improve public security, Troops from both countries, as well as other security forces, will gather and share intelligence and coordinate various security operations.
“In this sector in particular there will be air, sea, and land resources and coordinated work between the two countries, ” explained Honduran Lieutenant Colonel Santos Nolasco, a spokesman for the National Interagency Security Force (FUSINA), which is a part of the Maya-Chortí Task Force. The Task Force is not the first instance of Honduran and Guatemalan security forces working together in cooperation, “but obviously now this cooperation will be much more intense and profound,” according to Armando Rodriguez Luna, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Cooperation between the Armed Forces of Honduras and Guatemala along their shared border is crucial in the fight against international drug trafficking because of their key location on the map: Both countries are sandwiched between drug-producing and trafficking regions and consumer nations.
As a consequence, Honduras and Guatemala are key transshipment points for transnational drug trafficking groups.
“Honduras and Guatemala are the two major countries of the region where large shipments of drugs arrive and land,” according to Rodriguez Luna. “In past years, authorities in those two countries have dismantled important storage facilities for drugs and weapons, which has prompted them to take action and work hand-in-hand to tackle international organized crime.”
The Maya-Chortí Task Force is an important undertaking where both governments cooperate regionally to combat organized crime and drug cartels,the security analyst said.