Mexico captures man wanted in killing of Guatemalan police

Reuters

By Mike McDonald

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Mexican police arrested on Friday a suspected Guatemalan drug trafficker accused of leading the June slaughter of eight police officers in Guatemala's western highlands, authorities said.

Eduardo Villatoro, alias "Guayo Cano," was arrested in the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas, Mexico on Friday morning at 5 a.m. local time, some 230 km (143 miles) from Guatemala's border, the Guatemalan government said.

"Villatoro is the mastermind (of the attack)," Guatemalan security minister Mauricio Lopez told reporters.

The government was working with Mexico to have Villatoro deported to Guatemala later on Friday, Lopez added.

In June, a crew of armed men stormed a police station in Salcaja in the Department of Quetzaltenango, northwest of Guatemala City, gunned down eight officers and kidnapped a ninth. His dismembered body was later found in a river.

Guatemalan authorities have arrested 14 people for alleged participation in the attack, including a police officer, and accused the group of murder and kidnapping.

Prosecutors suspect the attack was carried out after a member of the Guatemalan police attempted to steal money from a group of drug traffickers.

Guatemalan president Otto Perez took office in January 2012 pledging to fight organized crime in the Central American nation, which has one of the world's highest murder rates.

After a drop in killings in 2012 for a third straight year, murders have crept up this year. There were 4,667 homicides from January to September, a 5.8 percent rise over the same period in 2012, according to the Guatemalan coroner's office.

(Editing by Dave Graham and Eric Walsh)

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