- Title: Guatemala declares emergency in border areas to fight heroin trafficking
- Date: 19th May 2017
- Summary: IXCHIGUAN, GUATEMALA (MAY 18, 2017) (REUTERS) GUATEMALAN TROOPS SEEN LEAVING ON BOARD ARMY VEHICLE TROOPS DESCENDING FROM VEHICLE SOLDIERS RUNNING UP HILL WITH RIFLES IN HAND ARMED SOLDIERS APPROACHING POPPY FIELD / SOLDIER STANDING BEHIND BUSH SOLDIER HOLDING RIFLE, LOOKING ON TROOPS ON HILL VARIOUS OF TROOPS SCOURING SCENE WITH RIFLES IN HAND SECURITY FORCES LOOKING ON GENERAL VIEW OF POPPY FIELD CLOSE-UP OF POPPY FLOWERS MORE OF POPPY FLOWERS IN FIELD
- Embargoed: 2nd June 2017 23:05
- Keywords: drug-trafficking troops Mexico state of emergency government Guatemala
- Location: IXCHIGUAN AND TAJUMULCO AND GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
- City: IXCHIGUAN AND TAJUMULCO AND GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
- Country: Guatemala
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA0016HI91Z7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Guatemala's government has declared a state of emergency in two municipalities bordering Mexico amidst an uptake in cartel violence, deploying troops to take the fight to drug-traffickers.
Residents of the Ixchiguan and Tajumulco municipalities in the department of San Marcos have been living in fear due to a bloody conflict among criminal gangs backed by Mexican cartels to control drug-trafficking routes, the Interior Ministry said.
Guatemala's Congress is debating the emergency measures which were announced on Thursday (May 18). Once approved the measures will be in effect for 30 days, allowing the army to triple the number of soldiers fighting the criminal gangs to 450.
Guatemalan police in this border area have come under heavy gunfire and have been unable to enter the conflict area. Children have also been kept home from school amidst safety fears, the Guatemalan government has reported.
In Mexico, the military is fighting against surging heroin production, much of which feeds demand in the United States. Increased security in Mexico has seen drug activity splinter across the border to Guatemala. South of the border the rise of smaller gangs with ever-stronger poppy strains has complicated efforts to combat trafficking.
Some see a direct link between a U.S. heroin epidemic, that killed nearly 13,000 people in 2015, and the drug-related violence which has engulfed large swaths of Mexico.
Guatemala, much like its Central American neighbours Honduras and El Salvador, serves as a key transit point for traffickers shipping illegal drugs from South America to the United States. The trade has plunged the region into a spiral of violence waged by cartels and criminal gangs.
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