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Guatemala captures alleged drug lord wanted in U.S.

November 11, 2011

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s Interior Minister announced Tuesday the arrest of Elio Lorenzana, an alleged drug lord wanted on trafficking charges in the United States.

Lorenzana is the son of Waldemar Lorenzana, 71, known as “El Patriarca” (“The Patriarch”) and arrested in April on U.S. drug trafficking charges.

The U.S. Treasury Department was offering a $200,000 bounty for Elio Lorenzana’s arrest.

The Lorenzana family owns 15 businesses in eastern Guatemala, including gasoline stations and companies involved in construction, transportation and fruit exports.

U.S. officials accuse the elder Lorenzana of having links with two notorious Mexican drug lords, Ismael Zambaba García and Joaquín “El Chapo” (“Shorty”) Guzmán, both top members of the dangerous Sinaloa Cartel.

Elio Lorenzana was arrested in a Tuesday raid in the village of Los Llanos, some 130 kilometers east of Guatemala City, Interior Minister Carlos Menocal told reporters.

Elio Lorenzana, “like his father, is accused of the crime of conspiracy to commit international drug trafficking” and is wanted by a U.S. federal court, said Prosecutor General Claudia Paz.

Lorenzana, however, told reporters that he offered no resistance when he was arrested at home because he is innocent of all charges.

There is a similar U.S. bounty for information leading to the arrest of each of Elio’s two older brothers, Haroldo and Waldemar.

Central America has become a staging ground for illegal narcotics, especially cocaine coming from South America on its way north to the U.S. market.

The region has increasingly become tainted by violence as Mexican drug cartels that smuggle the drugs across the U.S. border form alliances with local criminals.

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