The site of the Guatemala City massacre

Authorities say that seven people killed at a Guatemalan clinic were bodyguards for a local Zetas boss, suggesting that a new rift has emerged between Guatemala's drug trafficking organizations.

The gunmen pulled up in five cars outside a Guatemala City clinic at about 1.25 p.m. on November 22, armed with AK-47 assault rifles. They entered the building and rounded up six men on the first and second floors, then executed them in a park outside the building. Another man was shot inside an office while reportedly trying to escape.

The victims are believed to be the bodyguards of Jairo Orellana, alias "El Pelon," a Zetas boss responsible for coordinating drug trafficking activities in the eastern province of Zacapa. One was identified as a former police officer.

Orellana reportedly left the clinic and escaped in a vehicle minutes after the shootings took place. Guatemala's government minister said that Orellana had been visiting the clinic since May, receiving "aesthetic" treatments. Orellana was registered at the clinic under the name "Alex Lopez."

InSight Crime Analysis 

The massacre appears to have been well planned, and the assassins seemed to know the exact identities of their intended targets. This suggests that Orellana's movements had been tracked for some time. If Orellana was in fact receiving cosmetic surgery at the clinic, this could suggest that he was aware of the threat, and wanted to alter his appearance to hide from his enemies.

Orellana is a key player in Guatemela's drug trade. He has a child with the daughter of drug trafficking patriarch Waldemar Lorenzana, of the Lorenzanas clan. He works for the Zetas, who are currently allied with Walther Overdick, a Guatemalan trafficker who played an important role in facilitating their entry to the country in 2007. While the brutality and the disciplined nature of the attack points to the Zetas, it's likely that Orellana also had enemies within the Lorenzana network, as the group had lost ground to the Zetas.

[Read InSight Crime's report on the Zetas in Guatemala].

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy. Unlike their paramilitary and drug cartel predecessors, the BACRIM maintain a diversified...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power. In rural sectors, uniformed BACRIM armed with assault rifles still patrol in...