Monday, May 16, 2011

Drug war: Death and violence spill into Guatemala, say cops

by Jim Kouri

"This latest evidence of sheer brutality -- the decapitation of human beings -- should be a warning to U.S. officials who are not taking their own border situation seriously," he added.

In what should be a cautionary tale for United States government officials, lawmakers and law enforcement officers, the decapitated bodies of 27 men and two women were found near Guatemala's border with Mexico over the weekend. 

The bodies were discovered at a ranch in Peten province, 310 miles) north of the Guatemalan capital.

The chief of police told reporters that the killings were probably linked to a battle between rival drug gangs fighting for control of the area. Northern Guatemala is an important transit point for drugs smuggled from South America to the United States, he said. 

"This is the worst massacre we have seen in modern times," police spokesman Donald Gonzalez told Reuters.

Army spokesman Colonel Ronald Urizar said dozens of soldiers had been sent to the Mexican border to prevent any suspects from fleeing the country. He noted that ground and aerial surveillance was being carried out in coordination with the Mexican government.

A member of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, an expert on Central American drug traffickers and gangs told the Public Safety Examiner that the victims were reported to have been ambushed by gunmen.

"The Guatemalan police and military are investigating the deaths and they believe the ambush was the work of Los Zetas, a violent and ruthless Mexican drug gang That's been moving its organized crime enterprise into Guatemala-Mexico border area," the DEA agent told the Public Safety Examiner in confidence.

There are also suspicions the massacre was linked to the killing of Haroldo Waldemar Leon in the same area on Saturday. Leon was the brother of alleged drugs trafficker Juan Jose "Juancho" Leon, who was shot dead by Los Zetas in 2008.

Guatemalan law enforcement claims the gang has increasingly moved its operations south since Mexican President Felipe Calderon stepped up his country's fight against the drug drug cartels in 2006.

"The perception of conditions in Guatemala by the Mexican gangs is that it is ripe for narcotics trafficking and a place to avoid capture by the Mexican military which is considered far more sophisticated and professional than the Guatemalan forces," said former narcotics officer John Kubitz.

"This latest evidence of sheer brutality -- the decapitation of human beings -- should be a warning to U.S. officials who are not taking their own border situation seriously," he added.

Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for, and he's a columnist for  In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB ( Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. 

He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations.  He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.   Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com.   Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.