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Mendozas

Based in Guatemala's northern-most province of Peten, the Mendozas mainly ran contraband before becoming one of Central America's drug trafficking organizations (DTOs).

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They have sought political alliances with powerful members of the government and strategic alliances with other DTOs in the country. This may have included a short-lived agreement that some called the "Pacto de Peten" between themselves and the Lorenzanas to split the country north from south and push out the rival Leones, who they believed were responsible for stealing much of their merchandise. According to some Guatemalan sources, they used hired guns to attack the Leones, supposedly bringing in feared Mexican group the Zetas, who in March 2008, assassinated Juancho Leon in the Zacapa province. This strategy, however, backfired, and the Zetas co-opted territory in southeastern and central Guatemala. Much of the Mendoza clan is thought to have fled, or to be regularly using Belize as a refuge. Nonetheless, they are also believed to have the best contacts in Guatemala’s government, something the Zetas may still lack.

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