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Guatemala launching new anti-narcotics force

The Americas Post - Guatemalan Defense Minister Anzueto has a long Pacific Coast to monitor

The government of Guatemala has formed a new military unit with financial and technical support from the United States to fight drug trafficking in the Pacific Ocean and the San Marcos region bordering Mexico, an official source announced yesterday.

Guatemalan Defense Minister Ulysses Anzueto told reporters that Military Task Force Tecun Uman aims to prevent the entry of drugs to the country by sea. The new force will be supported by the United States, which is donating patrol cars and communication systems.  Anzueto said selection of a commander is underway for the group, which will consist of members of the military and could begin operations by mid 2012.

The coasts of Guatemala have become the main entry point for drugs from South America destined for Mexico and the United States, according to authorities. According to Anzueto, almost 70% of the drugs reach the Central American country by sea, especially in the Pacific.

Previously, drugs most often entered Guatemala by air, but Narcotics Affairs surveillance helicopters  have forced drug traffickers to switch methods. The drugs landed from the Pacific are transported by land to El Carmen and Ocós, in the northwestern province of San Marcos, bordering Mexico, authorities say.