Pubdate: Fri, 18 Nov 2005
Source: Daily Journal, The (Venezuela)
Copyright: 2005 The Daily Journal
Note: Associated Press Writer Juan Carlos Llorca in Guatemala City 
contributed to this report.
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


GUATEMALA CITY - Police found five packages of cocaine and thousands of 
dollars in cash in the office of Guatemala's top anti-drug cop, shortly 
after he was arrested in Virginia on charges of conspiring to ship cocaine 
into the United States.

The shocking arrests of Adan Castillo and two of his deputies by U.S. 
officials prompted Guatemalan President Oscar Berger on Wednesday to pledge 
to renew anti-trafficking programs in this Central American nation that is 
a key transit point for drugs heading north.

The arrest "is a strong blow to the infiltration of organized crime in the 
structures of the Guatemalan government," Interior Minister Carlos Vielman 

Hours after U.S. agents seized Casti-llo and deputies Jorge Aguilar Garcia 
and Rubilio Palacios Tuesday on charges of conspiring to ship cocaine to 
the United States, police searched Castillo's offices in Guatemala City and 
found the drugs and $22,000 (euro 18,840) in cash. While the weight of the 
cocaine had still to be determined, the haul was likely to increase: 14 
other packages of white powder found in the office were still being tested 
to see if they contained less-pure cocaine.

"If these drugs were the product of a (police) seizure, they should have 
been in the (evidence) warehouse," not in Castillo's private offices, 
Vielman said.

Two large bags of marijuana were also found in the locker of one Castillo's 

Berger said "there is evidence that these SAIA people were aiding drug 
trafficking," referring to the country's anti-drug agency.

He pledged to renew anti-trafficking programs, saying he would ask the 
country's legislature to approve a three-year extension in a joint 
anti-drug program with the United States known as the Maya-Jaguar program.

The plan allows the United States to send soldiers and military advisers to 
this country a few days out of every year for training of Guatemalan police 
and soldiers.

Washington has long run such training programs in Mexico and Central 
American as part of the regional "Open Skies" anti-drug program. The trio 
of Guatemalan officials were charged in a three-count indictment issued by 
a federal grand jury in Washington for conspiring to smuggle drugs into the 
United States.

The three were lured to the United States for what they thought was 
training on fighting drug traffickers. In reality, the U.S. Drug 
Enforcement Administration had been investigating the men for four months 
with the help of the Guatemalan government.

"More than corrupting the public trust, these Guatemalan police officials 
have been Trojan horses for the very addiction and devastation that they 
were entrusted to prevent," DEA Administrator Karen Tandy said in Washington.

Authorities acted now because they grew concerned Castillo could compromise 
ongoing investigations, a U.S. official said.

The official was not authorized to discuss details of the case not 
contained in the indictment and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Castillo, Garcia and Palacios pleaded innocent to the charges in federal 
court Wednesday and are being held without bail.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Castillo said he was ready 
to quit after just six months in his post because he was frustrated with a 
losing battle against drug smugglers.

He said traffickers were aided by corrupt officials at all levels of the 

"There are moments when you start to think you're swimming against the 
current," he said.

The DEA estimates that 75 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United 
States passes through Guatemala, much of it arriving aboard speed boats 
from Colombia.

* Associated Press Writer Juan Carlos Llorca in Guatemala City contributed 
to this report.
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