Guatemala ends 'siege' in drug-plagued province

February 19, 2011 06:15

IZABAL, Guatemala — The Guatemalan government lifted a two-month-old state of siege Friday in a northern province that authorities said was controlled by Mexican drug traffickers.

President Alvaro Colom said the emergency measures allowed security forces to reduce violence in Alta Verapaz and arrest at least 20 suspected members of the Mexico-based Zetas drug cartel.

The state of siege allowed the army to detain suspects without warrants, conduct warrantless searches, prohibit gun possession and public gatherings, and control the local news media.

Those emergency powers will no longer be in effect, but Colom said hundreds of soldiers and police sent to Alta Verapaz in December will continue to provide security.

"We are aware the these criminals are waiting for us to retreat so they can return, but no security units will leave," Colom told mayors and journalists in Coban, capital of Alta Verapaz.

Related Content

Breaking news
May 27, 2018
Palestinians to launch flotilla from Gaza on Tuesday