Zetas’ Top Guatemala Operative Captured in Mexico

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Guatemala’s authorities say Mexico has detained a leader of the Zetas who led the Mexican criminal group’s operations in Guatemala, another significant blow to the Zetas’ operations in this Central American nation.

On October 12, Mexican authorities captured a presumed leader of the Zetas for Guatemala, Gerardo Jaramillo, alias “El Yanqui,” Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told Prensa Libre

This capture led police to two houses in Fraijanes, a town about 30 km south of Guatemala City, where authorities discovered an arsenal that included two rifles with built-in grenade launchers, assault rifles, 12mm shotguns, bulletproof and tactical vests, ammunition, and a silencer, the newspaper said.

Telecommunications equipment and luxury vehicles used to transport the weapons were also recovered, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal. Two Mexican men aged 43 and 29 were arrested after trying to escape on the back of a truck, reported Siglo 21. They were caught with a 9mm pistol and 104 bags of crack cocaine.

“This strike is important for us and intelligence places [the weapons] as part of the structure of the Zetas,” Bonilla said.

The arms formed part of a logistical network supporting drug trafficking in different parts of the country, he added.

A source told El Universal the men formed part of a Zetas cell operating in the north of the country, which stored and transported arms.

InSight Crime Analysis

As reported on by InSight Crime, the Zetas have seen an aggressive law enforcement operation against them batter what once was an extremely powerful presence in Guatemala. El Yanqui was the current head of the group in Guatemala, and while it remains operational, the organization is a shell of what it was two years ago.

SEE ALSO: The Zetas In Guatemala

To be sure, the Mexican organization is still a principal buyer of cocaine, along with the Sinaloa Cartel, but its attempts to get closer to the supply source and permanently take over the transport operations from local groups have been stymied for the moment.

The Mexican government’s capture of El Yanqui is also the second major arrest of a Guatemalan-based criminal operative in as many weeks by Mexican security forces. In early October, Mexican authorities captured Eduardo Francisco Villatoro Cano, the alleged mastermind of the June massacre of eight policemen in Guatemala, and deported him to Guatemala to face charges. 

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