Photo: Guatemala Police
Three suspected employees of Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel were arrested in the eastern province of Zacapa after a gunfight with security forces, the Guatemalan interior minister said Thursday.
The clash Wednesday in the town of Gualan resulted in no casualties, Mauricio Lopez told reporters in the capital.
He identified the suspects as Vicente Enrique Estrada, 21, Salvador Vargas, 31, and Luis Orlando Vargas, 35, and said all three are Guatemalan citizens.
Authorities have reason to believe Orlando Vargas runs the Zetas’ extortion and kidnapping rackets in eastern Guatemala, the interior minister said.
Police seized an AK-47 assault rifle, a 9 mm pistol and a bulletproof vest from the suspects.
Los Zetas, founded by deserters from an elite Mexican military unit and regarded as the most brutal of the country’s drug cartels, has had a presence in Guatemala for at least four years.
Officials do not have detailed figures on the number of killings carried out by Los Zetas in Guatemala, but they say the cartel has been behind at least a dozen massacres that have claimed the lives of about 100 people since 2008.
The most dramatic incident was the slaughter of 27 peasants in the border province of Peten.