Friday, July 30, 2010

Los Zetas Members on Trial in Guatemala


GUATEMALA - The trial of 14 alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas continued Thursday in the case of 11 Guatemalan drug traffickers killed in Zacapa department in 2008.

According to prosecutors, the killings were part of a fierce battle between a Guatemalan drug gang and the Mexican cartel Los Zetas for control of smuggling routes through Guatemala.

The clash between the two cartels revealed the presence in Guatemala of Mexico's powerful drug mafia, especially Los Zetas, considered to be the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel.

However, not all the defendants attended the hearing on Wednesday; two of them, a Mexican and a Guatemalan, remained in prison because authorities feared a rescue attempt, and they followed the hearing via videoconference.

Defense lawyers tried to suspend the hearing, calling it illegal, but were unsuccessful.

The prosecutor's office says it has more than 500 pieces of evidence linking defendants to the 2008 murders and other crimes, including illegal weapons possession, armed robbery and forgery.

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