Top Guatemala police officials arrested on drug charges

[JURIST] Guatemalan authorities have arrested two high-ranking police officials leading the country's war on drugs on charges of corruption and drug trafficking, Guatemalan Attorney General Amilcar Velasquez [official website, in Spanish] announced [audio, in Spanish] Tuesday. Police Chief Baltazar Gonzalez and anti-narcotics official Nelly Bonilla were arrested Tuesday in connection with a drug-related shoot-out [AP report] last year between drug traffickers and a gang of police accused of stealing large quantities of cocaine for profit. An 11-month investigation by the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) [official website, in Spanish] in collaboration with the prosecutor's office led to the arrests only a few days before US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton [official website] will visit the country to discuss the country's ongoing efforts to combat the drug trade [CNN report].

On Monday, the US State Department [official website] released its 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, which highlighted Guatemala as a key player in the Latin American drug trade [text, PDF]. One of the biggest problems in the country is the corruption among high-ranking officials. Previous police chief Porfirio Perez was arrested on similar drug charges [AP report] last year. In January, Guatemalan authorities issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for former president Alfonso Portillo [CIDOB profile, in Spanish], after the US government requested his extradition to face charges of money laundering. Portillo was extradited [JURIST report] in 2008 from Mexico to Guatemala, where he is accused of authorizing transfers of $15.8 million from the budget of the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense during his presidency from 2000 to 2004.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.