16 November 2005
Guatemalan Policemen Arrested for Bringing Cocaine into U.S.
Intergovernmental cooperation led to arrests, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says
U.S. law authorities, with the help of the government of Guatemala, have arrested three high-level members of the Guatemalan anti-narcotics police on charges of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine into the United States, says the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In a November 16 press release, the DEA explained that the Guatemalans were arrested in the United States on November 15 after arriving from Guatemala.
DEA Administrator Karen Tandy said: "More than corrupting the public trust, these Guatemalan police officials have been Trojan horses for the very addiction and devastation that they were entrusted to prevent. In the battle against drugs, their actions are abhorrent -- giving aid to an enemy they had sworn to fight against. Finally, they will face the same justice they had long ago abandoned."
Following is the text of the DEA press release:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
Karen P. Tandy, Administrator
Date: November 16, 2005
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Telephone Number: 202-307-7977
HIGH RANKING GUATEMALAN POLICE OFFICERS ARRESTED
FOR CONSPIRACY TO IMPORT COCAINE INTO THE UNITED STATES
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Three high-level members of the Guatemalan Anti-Narcotics Police (Servicio de Analisis e Informaction Antinarcoticos, or SAIA) have been arrested on charges of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine in the United States, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Karen Tandy announced today.
The three senior SAIA officials are charged in an indictment returned in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States, and with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, intending that it would be imported into the United States, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 959, 960 and 963. The three officials were arrested in the United States Tuesday after arriving in the country from Guatemala.
The three defendants named in the indictment are Adan Castillo Lopez, a/k/a "Adan Castillo Aguilar," Jorge Aguilar Garcia, and Rubilio Orlando Palacios. Castillo is Chief of the SAIA and the highest-ranking anti-narcotics officer in Guatemala. Aguilar is the second in command at SAIA. Orlando is also a member of the same special police force and he was responsible for security sweeps at Santo Tomas, a port on Guatemala's Caribbean coast.
"Those in law enforcement who would sell their badges to aid in the illegal shipment of narcotics to the United States need to know that we are aggressively investigating their activities," said Assistant Attorney General Fisher. "International borders will not stop our pursuit. U.S. law can be brought to bear against them, no matter where they operate."
"More than corrupting the public trust, these Guatemalan Police Officials have been Trojan horses for the very addiction and devastation that they were entrusted to prevent," said DEA Administrator Tandy. "In the battle against drugs, their actions are abhorrent -- giving aid to an enemy they had sworn to fight against. Finally, they will face the same justice they had long ago abandoned."
The indictment and arrests are the result of a four-month long investigation by DEA agents in the United States and Central America into activities of the three defendants. The defendants are scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge at U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia at 1:45 p.m. ET today.
If convicted of the charged offenses, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The investigation that led to the arrests was conducted by the DEA, working with the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. The Government of Guatemala assisted in the investigation.
An indictment contains only allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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