Monday, October 14, 2013

Guatemala: Retaliatory Murders of Nine Police Officers for Stealing $740,000 in Drug Money

According to The Latin American Tribune, the theft of $740,000 in drug money spurred the murder of nine Guatemalan police officers, prosecutors said during the arraignment of the assailant accused of ordering their deaths.

Eduardo Villatoro Caño, was arrested last week in neighboring México, is the apparent head of the drug cartel.

Caño's arraignment included the presentation of telephone intercepts in which the defendant was heard telling accomplices the police were killed because they stole a vehicle containing $740,000 in drug money.

On the night of June 13, 2013, several heavily armed men wearing ski-masks, at
Villatoro Caño's direction, arrived at the police barracks in Salcaja, Quetzaltenango province, entered the building and shot eight officers--some of whom were in their bunks--at close range.

A deputy inspector abducted by the assailants was found dead days later and his body revealed the fact that he had been severely tortured.

Besides the phone intercepts, prosecutors at the arraignment submitted a video showing some of the assailants staking out the police barracks prior to the attack.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, the TRIBUNE piece did not clarify how or when the surveillance video was obtained and from whom, otherwise the evidence could have potentially been used to prevent the attack on the barracks and the deaths of the nine police officers.

Thus far, the probe of the massacre has led to the arrest of 36 people.

Teams carrying out the arrests confiscated 33 handguns and 12 rifles, large amounts of cash in dollars, Guatemalan quetzales and Mexican pesos, and upwards of 75 vehicles.

Besides the police deaths, Villatoro Caño’s organization is thought to be responsible for more than 100 homicides in Huehuetenango province alone, which shares the border with México.