Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guatemalan police arrest rancher sought by US for allegedly working with Mexican drug gang

AP

Guatemalan police arrested a rancher sought by the U.S. government on an extradition warrant for his alleged ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, authorities said Tuesday.

Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said 71-year-old Waldemar Lorenzana Lima was detained in El Jicaro, a municipality 65 miles east of Guatemala City. Menocal said the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration helped in the investigation.

The U.S. government put up a $500,000 reward for information leading to Lorenzana’s capture. The rancher is alleged to have worked with the Sinaloa cartel to smuggle cocaine from Colombia through Guatemala and on to the United States.

Lorenzana is nicknamed “the patriarch” because his sons Eliu, Haroldo and Waldemar are also alleged to be involved in trafficking cocaine. They are still at large and sought by the U.S. government on $200,000 rewards each.

In April 2010, the U.S. Treasury Department put all the Lorenzanas 2010 on a list of alleged drug kingpins, barring U.S. citizens and companies from any dealings with them.

Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz said U.S. officials had been looking for Lorenzana since 2009.

Guatemala is a major transhipment point for drugs, the U.S. State Department said in its latest narcotics report. Its weak law enforcement, rampant corruption and proximity to Mexico have lured Mexican drug cartels into its border regions.

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