Guatemalan security forces, with support from the United States, arrested Friday four doctors accused of organ trafficking after they allegedly removed a kidney without her consent during a surgical operation, the Attorney General’s Office said.
The four doctors are “linked to the illegal extraction of a kidney from a patient who was given another diagnosis to justify the intervention”, said to journalists the spokesman of the entity, Moisés Ortiz.
In a first statement, the official had announced the arrest of three doctors. Subsequently, he reported the arrest of a fourth professional in an area on the southern outskirts of the capital.
The other three arrests were made in the capital with the help of the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Ortiz said.
Ortiz clarified that the four arrests were made in Guatemala City and none in Amatitlán, near the south of the capital, as was initially reported.
The four doctors, two urologists, a surgeon and a pathologist, were brought before a judge to be notified of the reasons for their detention. At the end of the appointment, the magistrate granted them conditional release and set the first statement hearing for March 14.
The four doctors are accused of illegal disposal of human organs or tissues. One of them is charged with the crime of concealment.
The investigations were initiated by a complaint filed in May 2022. According to the local press, the surgery took place in a private hospital in Guatemala City, a fact that Ortiz did not confirm.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the detainees are “linked to the illegal extraction of a kidney from a patient who was diagnosed as having an adrenal gland removed to justify the operation”.
The victim, a woman in her sixties, told the local newspaper Prensa Libre that she felt “discomfort after the operation, and that is why I went back to be checked” and that is when she found that the kidney had been removed.
For the moment it is not known if this is the only case in which the detainees are involved or if they are part of a network dedicated to international organ trafficking.
The head of the Prosecutor’s Office against Human Trafficking, Alexander Colop, affirmed that this is the first case of organ theft registered in Guatemala.