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XelaWho by Issue

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2 Fast 2 Furious: Guatemalan Guns

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XelaWho has previously reported that high-ranking Guatemalan officials indicted for corruption are really undercover corruption agents because their cases are so ridiculous. Breaking news continues to support our position.

A story recently broke involving the guy in charge of Presidential Logistics and Security (SAAS). He, like many high-ranking officials in comedian-turned-President Jimmy Morales’ FCN party, is ex-military. Colonel Jorge Ignacio López Jiménez is qualified for the secret service gig because besides his military experience, he also runs an armed security company called Business Vigilance and Security, Guatemala (Visegua).

In April, police arrested three Visegua security guards for trafficking arms to street gangs. When they were arrested they were supposedly delivering an Uzi, a shotgun, two pistols, and other munitions.

But were the three security guards just embezzling weapons from the company and independently selling them for some extra cash?

Nope, since several of the weapons came with silencers available only to government forces.

Military affiliates have long been thought to profit from inappropriate or illegal arms sales. After all, through the mid-90s the Guatemalan government had a strict and quite effective gun control system in place to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of leftist guerrillas. Since the peace accords with the guerrillas, that system, along with military stockpiles, has mysteriously disappeared, and the country has been ravaged by gang and cartel violence.

We suspect López is an undercover officer, inspired by US Dept. of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ (AFT) operation “Fast and Furious,” which became Obama’s first major scandal. The operation involved “gunwalking,” which means not interfering with suspicious arms sales. The ATF got tips from gun store owners when people wanted to buy weapons especially popular with Mexican cartels, like modified AK-47s, and paid in cash out of paper bags (true story). The ATF said, “Sounds good! Just get us the serial numbers.” The idea was to see how the guns got to Mexico to potentially bust cartel leaders. Without telling Mexico.

No problem, until the weapons were used to kill a Border Patrol officer and a Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) agent. And, even though I’m not finding this in my research, probably quite a lot of Mexicans, too, I guess.

Anyway, back to Colonel López. A previous scandal suggests that President Morales’ administration could reasonably come to the conclusion that López is, in fact, working successfully undercover.

In 2007, López was among several ex-military leaders who were purged from the police force as part of chief of police Erwin Sperisen’s inner circle. Investigations found that Sperisen had orgranized a death squad with other high-level bureaucrats that operated for years murdering prison inmates and possibly others. As head of internal affairs under Sperisen, López has some serious street cred as a not particularly law-abiding man.

Fortunately, the story hasn’t broken the cover of the obvious undercover agent: Armando Melgar Padilla. He was Morales’ security chief during the presidential campaign and López was his deputy. When Morales became president, they switched roles and Melgar Padilla now works under López in Presidential Security. Some say this switch was made to keep Melgar Padilla out of the spotlight, perhaps because in 2010 renowned Guatemalan journalist José Rubén Zamora accused Melgar Padilla and his brother of trafficking weapons to narcos.

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