Pubdate: Tue, 08 Nov 2005
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2005 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Will Weissert, Associated Press


GUATEMALA CITY - He's Guatemala's top anti-narcotics investigator, and
he's tired of fighting a losing battle.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Adan Castillo said he plans
to step down in December, after just six months on the job.

"There are moments when you start to think you're swimming against the
current," he said. "At those times, it's easy to think, 'If there
aren't other institutions that can support me, if the government
itself is weak in its responses, there's nothing left to do but leave
it in God's hands.'"

Castillo said his country's anti-drug agents are no match for

"They have speedboats with up to four motors, modern technology, the
most modern communication systems and contacts all over the American
Isthmus," he said. "It's easy for them."

Smugglers use bribes to pay off "information sources that are
absolutely excellent," he said. "So they realize how the state is
working. They monitor the state and the authorities and then do
analysis on how to handle the drugs."

As many as 4,000 smugglers operate in Guatemala, Castillo said. They
get cocaine shipments and move them to the Mexican border, where more
powerful gangs take over.

He said a key lieutenant of one of Mexico's most wanted drug lords,
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, oversees operations along the Mexico-
Guatemala border and that Guzman himself is believed to have spent
time in this country.

Castillo also said five major Colombian drug traffickers, whom he did
not identify, were advising four formerly rival Guatemalan smuggling
gangs on how to build a more powerful cartel. The groups have rallied
together around reputed Guatemalan drug lord Otto Herrera, who escaped
from a Mexican prison in May.

"Before, the organizations were jealous and were killing each other's
members," he said. "Now they are forming a single cartel in Guatemala
to dominate all of Central America."

Castillo said Herrera has been moving between Guatemala, Honduras and
Mexico and hopes to lead a Guatemala-based super cartel that can stand
up to Colombian and Mexican drug gangs.

"This would give them tremendous power," he said of the proposed
smuggling syndicate. "It would be very serious for us."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin