Police nab suspected top Guatemala drug trafficker

April 3, 2012 - 3:56 PM

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A leading drug trafficker who helped Mexico's brutal Zetas drug cartel expand into Guatemala was arrested Tuesday and is facing extradition to the United States, authorities said.

Horst Walther Overdick, 44, was captured during an operation to arrest Zetas operatives east of Guatemala's capital, Interior Secretary Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told reporters.

The process of extraditing Overdick will begin after he enters a plea to the trafficking charges against him in the U.S. and Guatemala, attorney-general Claudia Paz y Paz said.

Lopez Bonilla said Overdick, known as "The Tiger," had worked for years to establish a cocaine-trafficking link between South America and Mexico, and was the primary ally of the Zetas in Peten, Izabal and Verapaces provinces.

Overdick began as a trader in cardomom, a spice used in cooking, then used his knowledge of import and export routes to help the Zetas move cocaine to the United States.

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala issued a statement of congratulations for the arrest.

Overdick was the first Guatemalan trafficker to ally himself with the Zetas, a gang founded by Mexican army special forces members that has spread throughout Mexico and become one of its two most powerful cartels, Guatemalan judge Miguel Angel Galvez told The Associated Press.

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