Guatemala Arrests Man Accused of Massacre

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Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has announced the capture of a man believed to be linked to the massacre of 27 laborers at a farm in the northern state of Peten over the weekend.

Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said that Hugo Alvaro Gomez Vasquez, alias “Comandante Bruja,” is a member of the Z200 faction of the Zetas, the Mexico-based gang whose influence in the region has grown significantly in recent years.

Gomez Vasquez was arrested in Alta Verapaz, a department that borders on Peten, reports El Universal. The presence of the Zetas, amongst other criminal groups, in the department prompted the deployment of the Guatemalan army there in December. The army has also been deployed to Peten in response to the weekend’s murders, with the declaration of a state of siege. Authorities first picked up Gomez Vasquez’s trail yesterday while he was at a ranch just 10 miles from Los Cocos, site of the massacre.

Menocal also said that Gomez Vasquez was responsible for the murder last week of three family members of Otto Salguero, the owner of Los Cocos, whose deteriorating relationship with the Zetas apparently sparked the killings. Menocal said that the Zetas are believed to have extorted and demanded drugs from Salguero, who has not appeared since the massacre.

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