Mexican federal police on Oct. 4 announced the apprehension of a fugitive Gulf Cartel operative, Eduardo Francisco Villatoro Cano AKA “Guayo”—wanted in Guatemala for a bloody attack on police earlier this year. Guayo was captured in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of southern Chiapas state, bordering Guatemala. Guatemalan authorities hold him responsible for a June armed attack on a National Civil Police post in Salcajá, Quetzaltenango, in which nine officers were killed. He was arrested along with his cousin, Édgar Waldiny Herrera Villatoro AKA “El Gualas.” Although both men are Guatemalan nationals, they were said to be serving as agents of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. They were turned over to authorities in Guatemala, where President Otto Perez Molina said the Gulf Cartel network in the country has now been dismantled.
In the Salcajá attack, more than a dozen gunmen stormed a police substation, killing eight officers and abducting their commander, whose dismembered remains were found later. Guatemalan authorities said the attack was probably retribution for a cocaine seizure. But Guayo’s establishment of an armed network in Guatemala seems to be a response to the rapid growth in the Central American country of the Gulf Cartel’s bitter rivals, Los Zetas—who have doubltess co-opted elements of the national police force. So the attack—if Guayo was really behind it—may have been part of the Gulf Cartel effort to reclaim Guatemalan turf from the Zeta competition.
The arrest comes as Mexican and Guatemalan security forces have increased cooperation in response to the southward expansion of the Mexican cartels. Guatemala now has one of the world’s highest homicide rates, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), at 38.5 per 100,000 population in 2011, the last year for which statistics are available. (BBC News, Milenio, Oct. 5; LAT, Oct. 4)
Please support our fund drive.