Guatemala City.- Guatemala said it had disrupted a network of human traffickers identified as allegedly responsible for illegally transporting 15 Guatemalan migrants who were murdered in Mexico in 2021 in their attempt to reach the United States.
The group, called “Los Coronado”, was dismantled after several raids in the indigenous municipality of Comitancillo, in the west of the country, in which 10 people accused of being part of the trafficking network were arrested, Stuardo Campo, chief of the Prosecutor’s Office against the Illicit Trafficking of Migrants.
Among those detained is one of the alleged leaders of the “coyote” network, as traffickers are known, while another of the alleged leaders, a former municipal mayor of Comitancillo, is a fugitive along with five other people, added Campo.
The detainees were taken to the capital after the operation, which was supported by agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security.
On January 22, 2021, the charred bodies of 19 people were found on a road in the Mexican municipality of Camargo, Tamaulipas state, which borders the United States and has been hit for years by organized crime.
Of the victims, 16 were Guatemalan and the other three were of Mexican origin. In the group of Central Americans, 15 were migrants and one was the guide or “coyote”, part of the network dismantled this Friday.
The bodies were found inside a vehicle that had received 113 bullet wounds and was later burned, according to investigations by the authorities. Twelve Mexican police officers were arrested for their responsibility in what happened.
The bodies of the Guatemalans, all from Comitancillo, were repatriated almost two months after the massacre.
“It was established that the criminal structure captured the victims, agreeing with them a payment that ranged between 95,000 and 120,000 quetzales (about 11,875 and 15,000 dollars), to transfer them to the United States,” added the prosecutor.
For his part, the Minister of the Interior, David Barrientos, declared at a press conference that large amounts of quetzales and dollars were seized in the operations, as well as a firearm, ammunition and computer equipment, among other evidence.
Every year, thousands of Guatemalans, many with the support of traffickers, take the dangerous road without papers to cross Mexico and reach the United States, fleeing the poverty and violence that plague the region.