The Sarstún River in Petén Department, Guatemala.
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28 Dead In Guatemalan Massacre; Police Suspect Drug Cartel Involvement

May 16, 2011 By Roque Planas

The Sarstún River in Petén Department, Guatemala.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Guatemala’s national police said Sunday they found at least 28 decapitated bodies in one of the worst massacres the country has seen since its civil war ended in 1996.

A group of 200 gunmen attacked workers on a coconut farm in the town of Caserío La Bomba in the northern department (province) of Petén along the Mexican border, according to Jaime Leonel Otzín of Guatemala’s National Civil Police.

“There are two women among the victims and all of them were decapitated,” Donald González of the Guatemalan National Police told Agence France-Presse.

Police said the motive behind the slayings is not known, but could be related to fights between drug cartels that are known to vie for control of the area. Police are investigating a link between Sunday’s violence and the killing on Saturday of Haroldo León.

Haroldo León was the brother of alleged drug trafficker Juan José “Juancho” León, who was murdered in 2008 in an attack authorities believe was committed by the Zetas gang, a Mexican drug cartel.

Interior Minister Carlos Menocal blamed the killings on the Zetas, according to AFP, but it was not clear what information he based his opinion on. Otzín said the police think the Zetas might be responsible, but they could not be sure. “We have two hypotheses about the case, but the investigation has to advance to figure out what happened,” he said.

The military is working with the police to investigate the killings.

Petén borders the province of Alta Verapaz, where the Guatemalan government declared a state of siege and sent the military to quell violence related to drug smuggling in December.

Guatemala has one of the highest murder rates in the hemisphere, at 18 per day.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

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Central America

  • A report of three rifles missing from military barracks triggered the investigation into a former Salvadoran army officer who pleaded guilty this week in the United States to federal terrorism charges, officials in this Central American country said Thursday.
  • A Nicaraguan court has again postponed a hearing for U.S. citizen Jason Puracal, who is accused of laundering money for organized crime.

Andes

Southern Cone

Image: Fernando Reyes Palencia @ Flickr.

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4 Comments

[…] mass murder, which President Colom called “sadistic and perverse”, left 27 people dead in the town of Caserío La Bomba in the northern department (province) of Petén. The killers decapitated several victims and left their body parts strewn across the […]

[…] The URL of where I got the information is:  https://latindispatch.com/2011/05/16/28-dead-in-guatemalan-massacre-police-suspect-drug-cartel-involv… […]

[…] Three men were arrested in Guatemala over the weekend for trying to hang a banners signed by the Mexican Zetas cartel that seek to justify last week’s massacre of day laborers in the Petén. […]

[…] Mexico. Saturday’s mass murder, which President Colom called “sadistic and perverse”, left 27 people dead in the town of Caserío La Bomba in the northern department (province) of Petén. The killers decapitated several victims and left their body parts strewn across the […]

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