The Armed Forces of Guatemala and Mexico are cooperating to stop drug trafficking through the border the two countries share. In recent weeks, the Guatemalan Army has deployed 250 troops along the Suchiate River, which marks the western border between Guatemala and Mexico. The troops are part of the Tecún Umán Task Force, whose mission it is to stop drug smuggling and other criminal enterprises, such as human trafficking, along the border. The border is a major drug trafficking route for transnational criminal organizations, particularly Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, which is led by fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The Guatemalan soldiers assigned to the task force have been trained in to detect and stop drug shipments. The troops have also received combat and reconnaissance training, according to Guatemalan military authorities. These troops are equipped with heat sensors and night vision goggles, which allow them to operate at night. They also have armored Jeep J8 vehicles, which were contributed by the United States government. The U.S. is cooperating with Guatemala and Mexico in the battle against transnational criminal organizations. Guatemala’s National Civil Police (PNC) in recent weeks assigned dozens of officers to the border region, in departments such as San Marcos, Petén, Huehuetenango and Quiché. Binational meeting Security deployment In recent weeks, Mexico sent more than 2,500 soldiers and Marines to the border region. For Mexican military forces, the joint operation is known as the “Southern Border Plan,” which is being coordinated by the Mexican Navy. The operation was launched during the first week of September 2013. Mexican security forces are also being strengthened along the country’s border with Belize. In addition to the soldiers and Marines, the Federal Police (PF) is sending an additional 100 agents to the border region. Guatemalan and Mexican security forces are working to stop drugs, weapons, and humans from being smuggled into Mexico. The Mexican Army has established a military camp on the Tapachula-Talismán highway, near six border towns which are adjacent to the Guatemalan border. With the support of military dogs trained to detect drugs, soldiers are inspecting vehicles which pass through the highway. If organized crime operatives slip past the border, Mexican security forces will enforce additional checkpoints in Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Campeche. Additional checkpoints will be conducted in Veracruz and Oaxaca. Drug trafficking region Working collaboratively to strengthen security at the border makes sense for Guatemalan and Mexican security forces, according to Carlos Mendoza, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “The strategy to secure the border will inhibit the areas where transnational criminal organizations operate,” Mendoza said. “ It will certainly lead to a reduced flow of drugs, money, and weapons. Cartels will look for new routes.” “It’s a good partnership in terms of security,” the security analyst explained. “They are strengthening cooperation between both countries, as well as their cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against drug cartels.” Guatemalan and Mexican officials discussed security issues and other topics during the 11th Mexico-Guatemala Binational Commission meeting in Mexico City in May 2013. The two countries must cooperate to strengthen security in the border region, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera Castro said during the closing ceremony of the binational meeting. Guatemala and Mexico cannot allow organized crime groups like Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel (CDG) and the Sinaloa Cartel to operate freely, Carrera Castro said. During the past 15 months, Guatemalan and Mexican security forces have captured several important organized crime operatives who operated transnationally: • In May 2013, Guatemala’s National Civil Police captured Samuel Escobar, 20, an alleged high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel operative. Police captured Escobar in the department of San Marcos, near the Pacific coast. He was carrying a gun, jewelry, and more than $128,000 in cash. Escobar was with a gang which was threatening to kill police officers unless they stopped looking for him, Guatemala Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. National Civil Police also captured Deisy Vallagran, 57, a suspected drug trafficker who was allegedly hiding firearms, drugs, and a money-counting machine in her home, and Juventino Encarnacion Garcia, 44, an alleged drug trafficker suspected of working with El Chapo. • In September 2012, Mexican Army soldiers captured Sergio Armando Barrera Salcedo, an alleged Sinaloa Cartel operative who is known as “El Checo.” He is suspected of receiving drugs that were smuggled through the Guatemala-Mexico border and transporting them throughout Mexico. • In July 2012, Guatemalan National Civil Police agents and Army soldiers captured 27 alleged Los Zetas operatives in the suburb of Quetzal, near Guatemala City. The suspects were all Mexican nationals. They were suspected of engaging in killings, extortion, kidnappings, arms smuggling, and drug trafficking. Improving security By Dialogo October 09, 2013 Important captures For years, Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, and other organized crime groups have used the 1,000-kilometer long Guatamala-Mexico border for drug trafficking and other illicit enterprises. While some drugs are smuggled from Central America to Mexico and the United States in boats and planes, the vast majority of drugs – 76 percent – are trafficked through the Guatemala-Mexico border, according to security analysts.
The football players of FC Željezničar traveled to Međugorje, where in the next ten days they are to prepare for the performance in the first qualifying round of the European League.The coach of FC Željezničar Milomir Odović will prepare the team for the European matches and the next season of the Premier League of B&H.On Monday, FC Željezničar will play a friendly match against the team of Međugorje, and against FC Zrinjski three days later. In these matches, Odović will test the players who have just joined the team (Secouba Diatta, Ivan Livaja, Jovan Blagojević, Emir Hodžurda), as well as several young players who have transferred to the first team from the youth squad.‘’The team is finally complete. The real preparations are just starting, and will be very specific since we are playing the first European matches in fifteen days. We will also attempt to prepare for the next season of the Premier League. Currently, I am not thinking about the opponents. We have to reach a certain level of form, and if we achieve that, I believe everything will depend on us in the first qualifying round’’, said Odović prior to leaving for Međugorje.The last footballer who arrived at ‘’Grbavica’’ is Emir Hodžurda, the stopper who was a member of the youth squad of FC Željezničar until 2008, after which he played in Romanian FC Otelul Galati, FC Famos, FC Bosna Visoko, Slovenian FC Aluminij, while he spent the past season in FC Slavija.Odović believes that Hodžurda has the potential to fulfill the expectations of the expert staff of the FC Željezničar, but he points out that it is too early to predict whether he will meet the requirements, and that precisely the profile of a player such as Jovan Blagojević, the former player of Velež, was missing in FC Željezničar in the past season.‘’Assuming that Hodžurda is a player that we need, we will have a quality team that is covered in all positions. We brought in reinforcements in accordance with our abilities. I think Blagojević is a player that FC Željezničar did not have in the past season, and it is the profile of a player that we lacked. Our young players will advance with him, and FC Željezničar will play better’’, added the strategist of ‘’The Blues’’.(Source: novovrijeme.ba/ photo radiosarajevo)