Horst Walther Overdick, alias “El Tigre,” was one of the biggest drug traffickers in Guatemala and a key facilitator of the Zetas’ expansion. He was reportedly captured in April 2012.
Overdick, the son of a former mayor, was born in the northern province of Alta Verapaz. He started out as a cardamom trader and used the experience and connections he made buying cardamom from local suppliers to move contraband. Eventually, Overdick moved to drug trafficking and transported large loads of cocaine from South America through Guatemala on the way to the United States. He also allegedly built clandestine runways and stored cocaine in Guatemalan warehouses.
Horst Walther Overdick Factbox
DOB: July 31, 1967
Group: Ran his own cocaine transport group
Criminal Activities: Drug trafficking
Status: Extradited to the US in December 2012
Area of Operation: Guatemala
When the Zetas began to operate in Guatemala in 2007, Overdick allied himself with the brutal Mexican cartel to drive out a rival contraband family, the Leones, so that Overdick could control the highly strategic Zacapa corridor, a border state used for moving drug shipments.
Thanks to his connections with military and political officials, Overdick did not have to keep a low profile. He attended public events with high-level public officials and even played on a local soccer team against the governor of Alta Verapaz.
According to US and Guatemalan authorities, by the time he was captured Overdick had risen to become one of the top criminal leaders in Guatemala.
Overdick transported cocaine from South America through Guatemala en route to the United States. He was also involved in the contraband trade.
Overdick’s base of operations was in the northern Guatemalan province of Alta Verapaz.
Allies and Enemies
Overdick teamed up with some of the largest Guatemalan drug traffickers, including Ottoniel Turcios, who was arrested in 2010 in Belize and extradited to the United States to face trial for drug trafficking. He also had close ties to the Lorenzana family, a long-time contraband family involved in drug trafficking.
At the time of his capture, Overdick had an alliance with the Zetas. This alliance was convenient for both parties. The Overdick group benefited from the Zetas’ firepower, training and brutal tactics that strike fear in their rivals. The Zetas benefited from Overdick’s local connections in the political and business worlds, as well as his links with current and former Guatemalan military.