Guatemala’s security forces arrested the mayor of a municipality near the border with El Salvador on Monday on drug trafficking charges originating from South America.
The mayor of Cuilapa, Esvin Fernando Marroquín, is being sought by the District Court of Texas in the southern United States, said María José Mansilla, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office.
Marroquín is accused of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, despite knowing “there was reasonable cause to believe that such a substance would be illegally imported into the United States.”
An investigation identified a drug trafficking organization operating in South America, Central America, and North America, the spokesperson said. Marroquín allegedly used his “power and political influence to facilitate the organization’s operations in the region, including the passage of airplanes and maritime vessels loaded with cocaine from Central and South America through Guatemala.”
The detained mayor would charge members of the organization and other drug traffickers a commission for using his services and securing safe passage through the region he politically controlled, the spokesperson added.
Marroquín’s arrest brings the total number of detentions for extradition coordinated by the Attorney General’s Office to 14 in 2023, with 13 of them related to drug trafficking offenses.
With the assistance of local drug traffickers, international cartels use Guatemala and the rest of Central America as transit routes for drugs heading to Mexico and the United States. According to Washington, 90% of the cocaine entering its territory passes through Mexico and Central America by airplanes, boats, and submarines.
The arrest of Marroquín is a significant blow to the drug trafficking organization he was allegedly involved with. It also sends a message to other politicians who may be involved in drug trafficking that they will be held accountable for their actions.
The Attorney General’s Office is continuing its investigation into the drug trafficking organization and is expected to make additional arrests in the coming weeks.