Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ex-Vice Pres of Guatamala at the Service of Los Zetas

Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from Proceso

Roxana Baldetti
June 25, 2017

The case of Guatemalan ex-Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested in her country on corruption charges, turned around this month, when the United States requested her extradition ... and she agreed to be extradited. This makes legal experts think that this is a maneuver that would allow it (Guatamala) to delay its process several decades. However, in her petition, Washington reveals that the former Guatemalan governmental functionary, allegedly, established a lucrative relationship with Los Zetas, whom she allowed to operate with total impunity in her country.

GUATEMALA CITY - The criminal case against Roxana Baldetti, the Guatemalan ex- vice president, took a turn on Wednesday, after an extradition request was received from the US government and confirmed the alleged links of former Guatemalan government official Hector Mauricio López Bonilla with Los Zetas who was arrested on June 11, 2017 and is being held in a Guatemalan jail. 



The file sent by the Department of Justice of the United States to support the request for extradition uncovered the alleged links of Baldetti with Los Zetas, a cartel that would have given the former more than $ 250,000 USD in exchange for being allowed to operate with impunity In Guatemalan territory.

In a statement announcing the extradition request, the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) reported that the US District of Columbia accuses Roxana Baldetti of "a conspiracy to transport illicit drugs and of criminal association." A hearing was scheduled for Thursday June 15, in order to inform the ex-president of the reasons why the United States requires her extradition.


Baldetti was vice president in the government of Otto Pérez Molina, President of Guatemala, 2012-2015 when he resigned amid a corruption scandal but  went unpunished on corruption charges.

Hector Mauricio Lopez Bonilla
After the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations-funded financial investigative group, revealed that Pérez Molina and Baldetti orchestrated a customs smuggling network known as La Línea, which defrauded the State of Guatemala for $ 3.8 million US Dollars, both were forced to resign, amid a strong wave of protests.

Both are currently in custody. Pérez Molina faces three criminal trials for corruption and Roxana Baldetti, four.

In the extradition request, the United States asserts that "Baldetti promised that as vice president, she would restrict the activities of the police forces to allow drug traffickers, who contributed to their election campaign in 2011, to use land, air and sea routes to transport drugs through Guatemala. "

The document cites several informants who assert that Baldetti met in Guatemala City with members of Los Zetas, including one identified in the file as "Witness 1", who decided to collaborate with the US authorities.


According to the US Department of Justice, during those meetings, held during the 2011 election campaign, Baldetti negotiated an agreement with Los Zetas as part of which she would receive $ 250,000, a payment that became effective between November 2011 and January 2012, once elected.

To confirm that she had received the payment, Baldetti allegedly sent an individual who served as liaison with Los Zetas a video showing the reception of the money, video that was attached to the file and is in the hands of the MP and the Supreme Court of Justice .

"Witness 1" directed deliveries of money and gifts to Baldetti's agents because he believed Baldetti would allow Los Zetas cocaine trafficking through Guatemala," says the file.

In addition to that payment, Baldetti allegedly requested and received armed security from Los Zetas for her campaign rallies in the northern entity of Huehuetenango between November 2010 and January 2012.

Elimination of a Rival:

"Witness 1" also states that in 2012 he requested Baldetti's help to "eliminate a drug dealer associated with a rival Mexican cartel" and that in response the ex-president informed him that the narco had a current arrest warrant, with which Los Zetas they inferred that Baldetti "would solve the problem".

Later the rival drug trafficker, whose identity is not revealed, was arrested.


In 2012 Guatemalan authorities arrested three high profile drug traffickers. The first was Horst Walther Overdick Mejia, associated with Los Zetas, arrested in April 2012 and extradited to the United States in December. He is accused of transporting 200 kilos of cocaine to that country.


The second was the Mexican Ramón Antonio Yánez Ochoa, who was arrested in Guatemala City in September 2012. He is accused of leading a structure dedicated to processing and producing methamphetamine and forfeiting precursors. He has been accused of transporting drugs between Mexico and Guatemala since 2009 and the US justice system requires him for drug trafficking offenses.


The third was Luis Fernando Castillo Velasquez, arrested in December 2012, appointed as part of a cartel led by Carlos Rubio Parra, alias "El Canche". He was arrested in Mexico City on July 18, 2016, charged with transporting about 300 kilos of cocaine from Guatemala between February 2006 and October 2008, which were later transported to the United States.

According to Mexican authorities, Rubio was the intermediary between the Mexican and Colombian cartels and his base of operations was Mexico City. The US court has asked Mexico to authorize its extradition to face charges of drug trafficking in the United States.

Before the Court of Columbia formulated the charges against Baldetti and López Bonilla on February 22 of this year, the presumed links of the ex-president with the drug trafficker Marllory Chacón Rossell, La Reina del Sur, documented by the newspaper El Periódico, had already Generated suspicions about their involvement with drug cartels.

Chacón, designated by the US Treasury as the leader of an organization dedicated to drug trafficking and money laundering operating in Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama and supplying Mexican cartels, was sentenced in Miami on May 5, 2015, to 12 years of jail for possession of more than five kilos of cocaine with intention to distribute it in US territory. The Court substantially reduced the penalty for collaborating with the government in capturing other drug traffickers.


Guatamala's Reina del Sur
Investigations published by El Periódico accused the Patriot Party, which brought to power Pérez Molina and Baldetti, to receive $ 2 million of the criminal structure headed by Chacon during the 2011 election campaign.

Accepts extradition:

On Thursday, June 15 Baldetti appeared in a videoconference from the Santa Teresa prison, at a hearing in which the Fifth Court of Judgment informed her of the request for extradition filed by the US court.

The ex-vice president, after hearing the indictment, said she would accept the voluntary extradition, which expedites the process.

However, Guatemalan lawyers say that under the terms of the extradition agreement signed between Guatemala and the United States, Baldetti can only be extradited once she has faced the four pending cases in Guatemala, which could take more than 40 years.

"There is no legal way for her (Baldetti) to leave without finishing her lawsuits here. As long as those processes are not solved through a conviction or final acquittal, she could not face the US justice system, " says penitentiary David Pineda.

"Baldetti has to be well advised because to get to fight an extradition request when the judges always grants them would have no strategic value. Even if it was not well founded, no judge will deny it, being someone as marked as she is, and more if it is the United States," added Pineda.

According to Pineda, in order for Baldetti to be extradited immediately, the MP would have to desist from legal proceedings against her, which would be "a bad precedent for Guatemalan justice."

In the opinion of Carmen Aída Ibarra, director of the Pro Justice movement, a civil organization, it is unlikely that the MP will abandon the proceedings against Baldetti while Thelma Aldana remains in charge of the institution and CICIG stays in the country. However, this political landscape could change when Aldana is relieved of her position in mid-2018.

"The next year they will appoint a new attorney general and there will be a new correlation of forces. Senior officials, such as Otto Pérez Molina, involved in cases of corruption, are betting that the president (Jimmy Morales) choose a prosecutor favorable to their cause and terminate the mandate of CICIG or a different commissioner, " Said Ibarra.

As for CICIG's continued presence in the country, it is worth remembering that Donald Trump's electoral victory in the United States, the main donor supporting the commission, implies a change in US foreign policy toward Central America, which could translate into less support for the work of the commission.


22 comments:

  1. Los Zetas are everywhere. I just don't see them ever being completely dismantled. And as long as they pay 2 play they're not ever gonna vanish. - Sol Prendido

    ReplyDelete
  2. They are no different then cartel scum. Arrest then execute with extreme prejudice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Plata o Plomo! The cartels in any south American country always offer this deal to all the politicians which is why this lady so called allowed the Zetas to operate in her country with impunity!
    Why can't Americans understand that money is so scarce in all these "Third World" countries that for measly $25 bucks you can have anyone killed at will? The cartels know this and exploit the desperation of some idiot possibly dope user to punish those politicians that won't cooperate. There is no easy way to overcome this situation unless the citizens of every one of these countries get paid more for an honest living which of course is not going to happen.
    P.S. the U.S. is heading in the same direction with the rich getting richer and paying others less!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @9:47 poverty, corruption and demand (in that order) is the cause of the problem and disintegration of civilized society.

      Delete
    2. 2:18 the american exceptional support for the LatinAmerican juntas full of their trained and paid gorillas is the root of LatinAmerican corruption, murders, genocide and powerty.
      Don't try to mask the situation and keep the patient alive. You seem to enjoy too much the "mouth to mouth"

      Delete
    3. Plato O Plomo! Si senor, the ZETAS (and other narco-cartels) know that they can take over "any" area they desire.

      They have prove this over and over.
      Q. What can end this?
      A. The Mexican people (revolution)"if" they have the will.

      Delete
  4. You see? It works - the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala. Mexico needs something this NOW!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. BREAKING: THE HAGUE (AFP) -
    Rights activists on Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court to probe years of killings and disappearances, as well as torture and detentions, in violence-plagued northern Mexico (Coahuila).

    http://www.france24.com/en/20170705-activists-urge-icc-probe-mexicos-crimes-against-humanity

    ReplyDelete
  6. thanks for translation, good job yaqui

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks happy for the camera

    ReplyDelete
  8. https://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2017/07/05/mexico/1499281481_595223.html

    Un enfrentamiento entre narcotraficantes deja al menos 14 muertos en Chihuahua

    True figure is now apporaching 30.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Associated Press is reporting a shootout by La Linea vs Sinaloa cartel. 26 confirmed dead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AlternativeFacts are famously LIES, famously made famous by the Con Don, and his biggest lies got posted on a full page on the New York Times print edition by some showboat journos.
      please confirm if you are really Alt (lies) or Fact.

      Delete
  10. And what is wrong with that, she is the EX vice president. Nothing should be wrong with that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can only imagine how many other prominent figures from all other countries are involved in such activities?
    Having educated myself from reading and taking in and out the far fetched. I realized that greed is the major factor as to why many engage. Other is the political elements behind ( donors).
    Like many of our practices which many countries apply, lobbyists, Super PAC and special interests groups. The political basis where influential monies benefits.
    Regardless of law and moral values.
    One thing is definitely certain is that the billions of dollars generated from the drug trafficking business is an economic power structure.
    From banks , real estate to the consumers ( shopping).
    A lucrative market indeed.
    Imagine the potential legalization of such a market. A pharmaceuticals dream for business.
    And a nightmare for others!

    E42

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The good money is in "illegal" no official accounting, no sabe nada, no remember nothing, no taxes, nobody knows who the enemy is, you get recruited, you don't have.to call, they will, and the enemies (poor.socialistas.communistas liberals) will never know who or what hit them until it's too late.
      Illegal business has been carefully constructed for hundreds of years, and lives on as a parasite on society because that is what parasites do. Society is lucky they are needed for the new blood it provides these blood suckers.

      Delete
    2. The US has too many money launderers with no visible means of support, but they can accept billion dollar investments and their "commission is 30 or 50%", just leave room for a little fine, and all is well that ends well.
      It occurs to me that the russians and the chinese must have A WHOLE WHALE LOTTA MONEY FROM ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES TOO, but everybody demonizes only the "mexican narcos", this would make up for a lot of ground, and this dark money must have been financing a lot of politicalal action committees that elect gerrymandered electoral college deputies..."
      After all, everybody is doing it,

      Delete
  12. -Desde Tierra Caliente-

    Creer que la EUA no puede poner en Guatemala la presión es muy difícil. Voy a esperar. Si oigo silencio entonces existe más que la extradición de un criminal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guatemala's Franchise School Of The Americas is the root of the problem, all its graduates are a bunch of criminals, robbers, drug traffickers, rapists, genocidal maniacs, sorry.

      Delete
  13. hungry for money at all costs

    ReplyDelete
  14. https://www.fidh.org/en/region/americas/mexico/mexico-murders-disappearances-and-torture-in-coahuila-de-zaragoza-are

    ReplyDelete

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