Saturday, April 20, 2019

FEDS: Guatemalan Presidential Candidate Conspired to Import Cocaine to the US

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: SinEmbargo and NYP
                         Mario Amílcar Estrada Orellana. Photo from his political campaign
  Presidential candidate offered the Sinaloa Cartel "full access" to Guatemala for money, accuses EU


A Guatemalan presidential candidate was busted Wednesday by the DEA for conspiring to import “tons of cocaine” into the US for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s infamous Sinaloa drug cartel — and allegedly attempting to arrange the assassinations of his political rivals, according to prosecutors.

According to the communiqué of the US justice system, of the seven documented occasions in which the candidate of the UCN and his aide negotiated the financing with the Sinaloa Cartel, in three of them they requested the physical elimination of two presidential candidates.


Mario Estrada, 58, was charged in Manhattan federal court following a months-long investigation.
Juan Pablo Gonzalez Mayorga

He and another individual, Juan Pablo Gonzalez Mayorga, were arrested Wednesday in Miami and are scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate on Thursday.


They are accused of conspiring to solicit cartel money “to finance a corrupt scheme to elect Estrada president of Guatemala,” according to prosecutors.


“In return, the two allegedly promised to assist the cartel in using Guatemalan ports and airports to export tons of cocaine into the US,” said Geoffrey Berman, attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement. “As further alleged, Estrada and Gonzalez attempted to arrange the assassinations of political rivals.” The pair allegedly conspired to use and possess machine guns throughout their murderous election campaign.

“[Estrada and Gonzalez] directed [confidential sources] to hire hitmen to assassinate political rivals to ensure that Estrada was elected president of Guatemala,” the federal complaint says. “In particular, Estrada and Gonzalez identified specific targets by name and agreed to provide the hitmen with firearms, including AK-47s, to carry out the murders.”

Both men will face a maximum of life in prison, if convicted.


“Thanks to the DEA, Estrada stands no chance of election in Guatemala,” Berman said. “But he and Gonzalez face justice in the United States.”

US authorities say Mario Amílcar Estrada Orellana asked the Sinaloa cartel for millions in exchange for offering "state-sponsored support" for the group's drug trafficking activities, according to a federal indictment released on April 17.

Estrada, a candidate for the center-right party Union of National Change (UCN), and another man, Juan Pablo Gonzalez Mayorga, were arrested at the Miami airport on charges of arms and narcotics trafficking, according to authorities.

The US authorities have signaled a Guatemalan presidential candidate to request campaign funds from the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, and even ask the group to assassinate their rivals. The case highlights that politics in Guatemala , despite efforts to clean up, is still a very dirty business.

Prosecutors say Mario Amílcar Estrada Orellana was asking between US $ 10 and US $ 12 million from the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for offering "state-sponsored support" for the group's drug trafficking activities, according to a federal statement of charges made public on May 17. April.

Estrada, a candidate for the center-right party Union of National Change (UCN), and another man, Juan Pablo Gonzalez Mayorga, were arrested at the Miami airport on charges of arms and narcotics trafficking, according to authorities.

During the last four months, they conspired to win the election with money from the drug traffickers who were handed over to them by two alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel, who were in fact criminal informants for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA for its acronym in English).

Estrada promised "unrestricted access" to Guatemala's ports and airports to transport drugs, and also offered to appoint members of the powerful drug trafficking organization in "key government posts" if he won the election, according to the statement of objections.

It is also said that Gonzalez asked if the informants could "assassinate [at least two] political rivals" using "many [rifles] AK-47" that would be provided to perpetrate the deaths.

In exchange for facilitating the movement of six planes loaded with cocaine through the country en route to the United States, the cartel was to send millions of dollars in drug monies through a yacht supplied by Estrada. In that way, Estrada told the informants, he could deliver a "considerable amount of money" to each of the 22 districts of Guatemala, which would allow him to secure enough votes to win the next June elections, according to the indictment.

Estrada is not alien to politics, nor to controversy. He was a congressman for many years before creating his UCN party in 2006.  He ran for president unsuccessfully in 2007, 2011, 2015 and again in 2019. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) had already  investigated Estrada and his party in 2015 for allegedly financing electoral illegal and links to drug trafficking.


For its part, the US Embassy in Guatemala called the UCN a "narcopartido" on a cable leaked by WikiLeaks in 2011.

The daughter of Gloria Torres, who accompanied Estrada in the UCN campaign in 2015, has also been linked with Waldemar Lorenzana, ex-leader of one of Guatemala's most notorious drug trafficking clans. Other members of the UCN party have been linked to convicted drug traffickers, such as Marllory Chacón Rossell.

If sentenced, Estrada and González would face the penalty of perpetual imprisonment in the United States.

Estrada's bold attempt to ask for drug money to win the presidential elections in Guatemala reveals the extent to which illicit money has infiltrated the country's political system.
                                                          Los Zetas in Guatemala
Although he was not among the favorites in the electoral contest, Estrada emphasized that "he needed funding from a drug cartel to be competitive." This says a lot, given that not long ago, Mexican criminal groups, such as the feared cartel of Los Zetas, they resorted to extreme violence to exercise control in the Central American countries, including Guatemala.

Another day of gang violence for victims of extreme poverty, drug use, and their corrupt government                                      somewhere in the Northern Triangle of Central America
"I think Estrada's case confirms the way many political parties [in Guatemala] finance their campaigns and demonstrate the continued cooptation of the state," Guatemalan journalist Sofía Menchú said in an interview with InSight Crime.

Allegations of illicit financing of campaigns and links with organized crime groups have clouded Guatemalan politics for years.

CICIG and the Public Prosecutor's Office are carrying out an investigation into President Jimmy Morales for presumed illicit electoral funding during the campaign that led him to the presidency in 2015.

His predecessor, Otto Pérez Molina, resigned before the authorities arrested him and the then Vice President Roxana Baldetti. Both were appointed to run a scheme of customs fraud that brought them millions of dollars in bribes. He was also accused of receiving illicit funds for his campaign.

Before Molina, Álvaro Colom was elected President of Guatemala in 2007 with the help of questionable political operators. These allegedly received critical financial support from organized crime groups in Guatemala and Mexico, including Los Zetas.

11 weeks of the trial of "El Chapo" sufficed to show the world the underground corruption of Mexico


With the current President Morales at the helm, Guatemalan elites recently struck back against the anticorruption campaign led by CICIG and the Public Prosecutor's Office. This led to a constitutional crisis at the beginning of this year, after Morales expelled Iván Velásquez, commissioner of the CICIG, and gave the commission's agents the order to leave the country.


"The government's greatest interest in power is to remove or weaken the actors and institutions that have been so important in the fight against corruption [in Guatemala]," said Jo-Marie Burt, associate professor at the School of Public Policy and Government Schar at George Mason University and principal advisor to the Washington Office for Latin American Affairs (WOLA).
The new revelations also occur while the United States sends contradictory signals about its commitment to fight corruption in Central America, specifically in the countries of the Northern Triangle, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Although the anti-narcotics authorities continue to make arrests of prominent figures linked to Central American governments, a recently released "blacklist" of corrupt government officials in Central America omitted the name of anyone who had not been previously convicted of their crimes.

The current US administration "does not really care about corruption in Central America," Burt added. "It is frustrating to see that even with the incredible progress made by CICIG and the Public Ministry,  yet those problems have not been solved."

21 comments:

  1. Blogger is NOT cooperating today, no way no how.
    So sorry for the odd layout and spacing.......sometimes it likes to do its own thing !
    It has gone ROGUE :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yaqui- We appreciate your hard work. Keep it up. Hope you have a Happy Easter 🐣

      Delete
  2. The balls for attempting this magnitude of conspiracies. Drug money finances many people, institutions and businesses.

    A frightening reality

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    1. The triangle of corruption is amazing, but when you consider who corrupted them shit becomes clear and transparent:
      Elliott Abrams, convicted of lying to congress is back in the area, close to the target, Venezuela, and extorting the triangle of corruption to get their cooperation.
      4 American nuns killed in El Salvador by army members trained by the Guatemalans, 8 Jesuit priests, their cook and her daughter, torture and rape were their weapons used on these people trying to help the locals before they became criminals or illegal caravan members, murdered to save them from an imaginary communism, like the people of El Mozote, murdered by Atlacatl Battalion trained by the US, or the Kaibiles, the drug traffiking organized by Cuban refugee Felix Ismael Rodriguez and his Honduran boyfriend Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros, millions of dollars spent by the US in instilling corruption in the area, and to propel the exploitation of the Banana Republics, what did you expect to get from it, cake?

      Delete
  3. Whisper in it's ear.....
    Wanna be a donation to Florence, Florence, Florence?"

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  4. Shocking but then again not shocking!Boy this guy is cheap.He only wanted $10-12 million for the country's intransit plaza whereas EPN wanted $250 million!

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    1. 11:16 Salinas paid 10 billion dollars for his vice president chair with Dow Jones, every other 10 million dollars for the plaza helps you know? EPN Arturo Beltran Leyva empire, and the money shows it was not only government money EPN stole, he earned on the side.

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  5. So this is a gift from the Sinaloa Cartel to the USA? Because no way both these guys were informants for the DEA and the cartel not know about it. So the Cartel gave the OK to give that information to the DEA. So Sinaloa has some top level Snitches. To give up a Presidential Candidate ? That’s big. So one they knew this guy had no real value to the Cartel or knew about value to a second cartel. Maybe thought the guy was a total dumb ass and would never win the race without raising all types of flags. Anyways. This was a mistake by the USA government. This is very clear the the Sinaloa Cartel and the DEA are working together.

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    1. Your lost read the article again.

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  6. So? Our u.s.a politicians have done way worst than this guy. Some have started wars in the name of profit or helped corporations make more money. I guess the idiots are really us since we keep giving them the power.

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    1. Prove it!

      That's the problem with most accusations. Waste of time and money. Unable to produce evidence until someone snitches. Majority of any major busts from law enforcement come from informants. The DEA does not inhibit special powers to forsee wrongdoing.
      Its those shady citizens who make law enforcement possible.

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    2. 12:51 - Gulf of Tonkien, Iran Contras Scandal, funding the mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Iraq war and Halliburton. There is 4 examples that are all proven to show U.S. corruption at the highest level.

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    3. Correct 2:25
      My point exactly. Many are not blind to see these atrocities committed by US. But nothing has been transparent enough to prosecute those responsible.

      Nice comment though.

      Delete
  7. No worries. Thanks yaqui
    Mn

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  8. The Guatermalan got corrupted since the birth of Guatermala,
    United Fruits Co. took care of appropriating the Banana Republics until they shifted the expenses to the Americans Public Trough, any attempt at decency was promptly sniffed by the US, specially since VP Nixxon was received with a rain of rotten eggs, the overthrow of Jacob Arbenz in retaliation, added to the creation of the School of the Americas franchise that led to the genocide against the Indian population by the Kaibiles led by "president Kaibil" giniral Otto Perez molina, and the arrival of a rebel out of control narco-state are signs that corruption in Guatermala is much larger than these frustrated candiates beat by entrapment from much worse people than them.
    I have been waiting for the persecution if not imprisonment of Alvaro Uribe Velez, I don't believe his innocence or his good luck have kept him out of prison and safe from the firing squad, and that is just one
    Man made emerald from Central America where no Saint ever wins over the worst sold bought and paid devils this side of hell. Unless you want to count Jorge Eliecer Gaytan, Jaime Roldos, Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, Michele Bachelet, Salvador Allende, Daniel Ortega, Evo Morales, AMLO...
    LET'S BE CONGRUENT, general efrain rios montt, jorge Rafael videla, pinochet and stroessner among many other LatinAmerican extreme right puppets have never been properly prosecuted, and they were all WORSE CRIMINALS, never mind the Mexican or the American ones...

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  9. The US oversees all these latin countries, shadowing all there moves. Without the constant eyes of the CIA, there would be constant chaos. They just cant get their crap together.

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    1. As if the US are much better.
      Foreign intrusion and influence has maliciously taken many countries to the brink of collapse. All for political reasons by inciting civil wars.
      The US and other countries have overstepped boundaries creating their political powers and government ideology.
      The US should focus on its citizens and the issues that many of its constituents face.

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  10. 11:16 the CIA, heheheee, you need to check the dirty deeds some have done under their shade or in their name, with and without authorization.
    Only the DEA can import drugs into the US, a other I porters are criminals, and the DEA is a gift from Richard Nixxon, who was tired of all the other do nothings at the time, even if they were his good buddies.

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  11. Coke? Intercept the shipments....add rat poison to it....send it on it's way to the end user.

    ReplyDelete

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