The Lorenzanas are a traditional contraband family, who, over time, became enmeshed in the lucrative drug trade. The group’s criminal career ended in the early 2010s with the arrest and extradition of its top leaders.
The Lorenzanas were one of Guatemala’s most long-running drug trafficking groups. The family had a relationship with Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel that stretched back at least two decades. Their reach once extended from Guatemala’s poorest communities, whose support was bought with largesse, to the upper echelons of the country’s political elite. However, in recent years they have become debilitated and their influence has declined.
Waldemar Lorenzana was arrested in December 2008 for alleged weapons possession but was soon released for reasons that illustrated their reach into the government justice system. In April 2010, the US Treasury Department froze the assets of Waldemar and his three sons, citing connections with the Sinaloa cartel. Then, after a change of government in Guatemala in 2011, the Lorenzana empire came crashing down. Waldemar Lorenzana and his sons, Eliu and Waldemar, were all arrested and later extradited to the United States.
Shortly after his extradition to the United States, in August 2014, Waldemar Lorenzana pleaded guilty to drug crimes. The younger Waldemar Lorenzana and his brother Eliu were convicted on drug trafficking charges in March 2016. In 2018, they were separately sentenced to life in prison.
The Lorenzanas were from Guatemala, and facilitated northbound drug shipments through the country.
Allies and Enemies
The Lorenzanas had a relationship with Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel that stretched back at least two decades.
The Lorenzanas have been decimated by arrests of the group’s top leaders, with Waldemar extradited to the United States. When his trial began in 2015, it was revealed the once powerful figure of Guatemala’s underworld could have Alzheimer’s. With all of its top members behind bars in the United States, for all intents and purposes, the empire of the Lorenzana clan appears to have been dismantled.