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Guatemala arrests former top cop for killings

United States America,Crime/Disaster/Accident, Sat, 24 Mar 2012 IANS

Guatemala City, March 24 (IANS/EFE) Former police director Marlene Blanco and two ex-cops were arrested Friday on charges of conspiring to carry out extrajudicial executions, said a spokesman for the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.

 

Blanco, who headed the national police force at the beginning of the 2008-12 administration of President Alvaro Colom, and former officers Israel Chavez and Lino Efren Castillo were detained on a judge's order, Diego Alvarez said.

 

Three active-duty police are also wanted in connection with the case, the commission spokesman said.

 

It was two years ago that Blanco was publicly accused of running a death squad at the behest of then-deputy interior Minister Francisco Cuevas, now the official spokesperson for President Otto Perez Molina.

 

Separately, Guatemalan army Capt. Marvin Antonio Blanco was arrested on kidnapping charges, the Attorney General's Office said Friday.

 

The 32-year-old Blanco was taken into custody Thursday at the La Montanita military post in the northwestern province of San Marcos, where he was the commanding officer.

 

The infantry captain has been under investigation since Feb 27 in the kidnapping of a child in Malacatan, San Marcos, according to Myron Melgar of the AG's office.

 

After demanding a ransom of more than $10,000, the captors eventually released the child in exchange for $2,500.

 

Friends of the victim identified Blanco as the person who provided the vehicle for the abduction and tied up the captive, Melgar said, declining to rule out the involvement of the captain's subordinates in the crime.

 

Capt. Blanco has also been linked to extortion of shopkeepers in San Marcos.

 

The defense ministry will support the judiciary in the investigation and if found guilty, Blanco will be dishonorably discharged, army spokesman Rony Urizar told reporters.

 

--IANS/EFE

 

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