Security forces of Guatemala and Mexico cooperate to fight drug traffickers

Members of the Mexican Federal Police (FP) trained 42 members of the Guatemalan National Police (PNC) and agents from the Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Public Ministry, and the Ministry of Defense.
Julieta Pelcastre | 29 July 2014

Transnational Threats

Airport security: A Guatemalan security agent receives a certificate confirming she successfully completed an airport security course provided by Mexican Federal Police (PF) officials. [Photo: Embassy of Mexico in Guatemala]

More than 40 members of Guatemalan security forces recently received training from Mexican police on the best ways to provide airport security. The training is part of a broad cooperative strategy to fight transnational criminal organizations, which often smuggle drugs through airports.

The training took place from June 2 to June 6 in Guatemala City.

Members of the Mexican Federal Police (FP) trained 42 members of the Guatemalan National Police (PNC) and agents from the Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Public Ministry, and the Ministry of Defense, according to the Guatemalan Ministry of Interior. The training course was organized by the Embassy of Mexico in Guatemala.

Guatemalan security agents received training on the best airport security protocols, how to investigate major crimes, the tactics of transnational criminal organizations which use airports to smuggle drugs, international treaties and conventions, and human rights.

The PF battles Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, La Familia Michoacana, the Knights Templar, and other international drug cartels. Those groups smuggle drugs through airports not only in Mexico but in several Central American countries, including Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

International cooperation

PF agents provided training on security protocols in airport zones, how to investigator major crimes, the best ways to protect the civilian population and how to protect human rights.

The training seminar is part of ongoing cooperation between Guatemala and Mexico to fight drug cartels.

“The training will strengthen methods for confronting the scourges that plague us on the border of both countries, and is a way to share experience,” said Noe Talabera Diez, a representative of Guatemalan Director of National Police (PNC) Telemaco Perez Garcia.

Talabera Diez spoke during the ceremony inaugurating the program.

One of the goals of the training seminar is to strengthen bonds of cooperation and trust between Guatemala and Mexico, which is a key step in the effort to dismantle the structures of transnational criminal organizations, said security analyst Armando Rodriguez Luna, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Once they are trained, the Guatemalan security agents will be authorized to educate other Guatemalan security officers in airport security.

The Guatemalan security agents who underwent the training completed the program successfully and met all international standards regarding airport security, the Embassy of Mexico reported June 12.

Guatemalan agents receive recognition

Guatemalan security agents who completed the training were recognized by security officails from their native country and Mexico in an awards ceremony.

Among the officials who attended the awards ceremony were, from Guatemala, Capt. Samayoa Jair Alberto Gutierrez, a high-ranking official in the Civil Aviation unit; and Captain Jorge Echeverría Roldán, an official to the Minister of the Interior.

The closing ceremony was held at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, located in Guatemala International Airport, which is also known as La Aurora airport.

The training will help improve security along the border Guatemala shares with Mexico, according to security analyst Rodriguez Luna.

“Every Guatemalan security agent needs to be (trained) to confront international drug traffickers,” Rodriguez Luna said.

Since 2007, the Armed Forces of Guatemala and Mexico have participated in joint operations to protect the border the two countries share, without any formal agreements, Rodriguez Luna said.

Confronting transnational drug traffickers

In Guatemala, two major Mexican transnational criminal groups, Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, are fighting each other and three Guatemalan organized crime groups – the Lorenzana and Mendoza organizations and Los Chamales – for control of drug trafficking routes.

To fight these drug trafficking groups, the Guatemalan government is preparing to install four high-tech radars to detect narco-flights. The radars are scheduled to be operational in September 2014.

The new radars can detect the height, speed, and size of an aircraft within a radius of 110 nautical miles. They remain operative even in severe weather conditions.

The use of technology, and international cooperation, are important components of Guatemala’s fight against international drug trafficking, Rodriguez Luna said.

Guatemalan security forces are succeeding in seizing greater quantities of drugs in 2014 compared to 2013.

From Jan. 1 through June 21, authorities seized 3,195 kilos of cocaine. Guatemalan security forces seized 3,406 kilos in all of 2013.

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