Guatemalan media reported this week that Colombian and Mexican drug cartels have joined forces to construct drug laboratories and produce cocaine and synthetic drugs in Guatemala in a move away from traditional production zones within their own countries.
Guatemalan newspaper La Prensa Libre reported that increased combating of drug trafficking cartels in Mexico and Colombia, and the convenient geographic location of Guatemala has led to a push by foreign drug cartels to establish laboratories and begin producing drugs with a view to exporting them to the Unites States.
El Espectador reported that on August 20 security forced were engaged in a fire-fight at a laboratory in Villa Canales, near to the Guatemalan capital. Three Colombian nationals and one Guatemalan were arrested and no casualties were registered.
At the scene a large number of firearms were seized, along with 107 plastic containers, base chemicals used in the process of drug production and a boiler, all of which points to production of synthetic designer drugs on a large scale.
An un-named government official was quoted in La Prense Libre saying Colombian bio-chemists had been sent to Guatemala to plan, design and build laboratories and train local “cooks” to produce the drugs.
At current it is unknown which Colombian drug trafficking organizations are involved, but authorities suggest that the Mexican Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel and the Knights of Templar have all been complicit.
The unnamed inside source, who asked to be kept anonymous for security reasons, said that it was easier for cartels to produce the drugs in Guatemala and move the finished product back to Mexico. He said that the ability to work in various locations around Guatemala gave them almost total freedom in their actions.
Édgar Gutiérrez, director of the Institute of national problems at the University of San Carlos, said that the production of designer drugs was not only a problem in Guatemala, but also in Honduras too, where he suggested the same production was taking place but on a larger scale.
So far in 2014 Guatemalan security forces have dismantled seven drug production laboratories in the departments of Huehuetenango and San Marcos, near to the border with Mexico, as well as in Retalhuleu, Chimaltenango and Guatemala.
Since 2012 more than 20 laboratories have been destroyed.
- Estrategica alianza de narcos en el pais (Prensa Libre)
- Narcos de Colombia y Mexico tienen alianza para producir drogas en Guatemala (El Espectador)