One of Guatemala’s most wanted men arrested by Mexico
The alleged leader of a Guatemalan drug trafficking ring has been arrested on Friday by the Mexican authorities.
Eduardo Francisco Villatoro Cano, who goes by the alias Guayo Cano, and 36 others are accused of murdering nine Guatemalan police officers last June in an apparent revenge killing. Villatoro is also thought to be the head of a drug trafficking organisation based in Huehuetenango, Western Guatemala.
After the massacre of the nine police officers, the Guatemalan government launched Operation Dignity which led to the arrest of 34 people. In July, the Guatemalan interior minister stated that Villatoro’s group was responsible for more than 100 killings.
The Guatemalan authorities had recently arrested Villatoro’s brother and placed his wife and sister under house arrest. They also offered $12,000 to anyone with information that could lead to Villatoro’s capture.
Friday’s arrest was made possible by the increased cooperation between the Guatemalan and Mexican authorities who are joining forces to fight drug trafficking cartels in both countries.
After the arrest, Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina called a news conference to announce that one of the country’s most wanted men had been caught. On Friday, Mr Molina congratulated the country’s officials on the arrest saying that the excellent coordination with the Mexican authorities had been crucial. “This concludes a successful operation that resulted in the capture of those responsible for the massacre,” he told the press.
Guatemala is experiencing one of the highest crime rates in Latin America due to the constant violent conflicts between drug cartels for the control of cocaine routes. According to a US report, 90% of South American cocaine headed for the north of the continent passes through Central American countries, including Guatemala.
Some sources have suggested that, despite the arrest of Villatoro and his assosciates, the transportation and money laundering structures of his trafficking ring have remained intact. If this is true, the effect of Villatoro’s capture remains unclear.