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Guatemala´s War on The Zetas, drug gangs control part of the territory.

Last Sunday, the President of Guatemala Alvaro Colom declared a state of siege at the mexican-guatemalan border, in a province controlled by the Mexican drug-trafficking group Los Zetas. This is a another strong sign that Mexico’s powerful cartels have extended their activities into foreign countries.

The military operation, that  will last at least one  month, focuse on the northern province of Alta Verapaz, which the guatemalan army described as a safe haven for Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel. This new development shows that the Zetas changed its strategy, an instead of focusing in obtaining the controlo of border cities like Chihuahua or Juarez at the U.S.-Mexico border, they choosed to try to control the mexican-guatemalan border, were the main area of interest will be to have the control of the colombian cocaine entering Mexico and also the human trafficking coming from the rest of Central America, having the U.S. as the final destination.

This is a new situation for Mexico, meaning that the war on drugs will be central also in the south of Mexico.

The declaration gives broad powers to the Guatemalan army, which will now act in delicate issues like detention of suspects without warrants, confiscate criminal weapons and the break up drug gangs.

All cars entering and leaving the provincial capital, Coban, as well the city of Carcha were being inspected.

Guatemala is seen as a major transit point for cocaine smuggled from Colombia through Guatemala to Mexico and on to the US.

The Zetas gang is one of Mexico’s most powerful and violent drug cartels.

Guatemalan law enforcement officials say the gang has increasingly moved its operations south since Mexican President Felipe Calderon stepped up his country’s fight against the drugs trade.