05/26/11— On Tuesday, Guatemala’s Interior Minister stated that Guatemalan authorities arrested five Mexicans linked to both Hugo Álvaro Gómez Vásquez, one of the key suspects in the May 15 massacre that killed 27 people in Guatemala, and to Los Zetas, one of the most violent organized crime groups in Mexico believed to have carried out the killings. Police found and arrested the men in the western Guatemalan highlands near the Mexican border. The five alleged Zetas members entered Guatemala illegally and are suspected of helping Gómez Vásquez kill a relative of the ranch’s owner and participate directly in the massacre. The investigations into their involvement is ongoing.
One of the other prime suspects believed to have directed the massacre was also arrested Tuesday, said Guatemala President Álvaro Colom. Estuardo Morales Madrid, believed to be the leader of the Guatemalan based Zetas branch, was arrested for his role in leading the killings, specifically on charges of murder and kidnapping. Following his arrest, Morales Madrid was moved to Guatemala City to await his hearing. According to Voice of America, the U.S. Department of State released a news report last year that declared that “entire regions” of Guatemala have now come under the control of the Zetas.
The May 15 killings occurred on a ranch in the Petén region of Guatemala and targeted the farm workers and the ranch owner’s family. In response to the massacre President Colom declared the Petén region of Guatemala in a “state of siege.” For more information on the event, click here.