Drug Kingpin & Transnational Crime
February 25, 2020

Leader of Guatemalan Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison

By Samuel Rubenfeld

 

The leader of a Guatemala-based drug trafficking organization (DTO) was sentenced Monday in U.S. federal court to 23 years in prison for his role in an international drug trafficking conspiracy, prosecutors said.

Waldemar Lorenzana-Lima, who led the Lorenzana DTO, admitted in his August 2014 guilty plea that from March 1996 to November 2007 he led an organization that received, inventoried and stored large quantities of cocaine from Colombia at his properties for eventual import to Mexico and the U.S. He was arrested in 2011 and extradited to the U.S. in March 2014.

He was sanctioned, along with three of his sons, in April 2010. The Lorenzana DTO “plays a key role” in facilitating cocaine trafficking between Colombia and Mexico, working with the Sinaloa Cartel, the U.S. Treasury Department said at the time.  Two more of his children and several companies operating on the DTO’s behalf were sanctioned in November 2012. 

The court concluded at his sentencing that Lorenzana-Lima’s conduct qualified him as an organizer or leader of a DTO under the applicable sentencing guidelines, prosecutors noted. In addition to the prison sentence, Lorenzana-Lima was also ordered to forfeit nearly USD 51 million.

The case of Lorenzana-Lima also had family intrigue, according to a 2015 analysis by InSight Crime, which studies organized crime groups in Latin America. His sons had deceived him by lying, but Lorenzana-Lima responded by pleading guilty to the U.S. criminal charges and implicating them in the drug trafficking, an act of family betrayal, InSight Crime reported. 

Lorenzana-Lima “minimized his own role in the drug trafficking conspiracy as compared to the Statement of Facts, and laid a majority of the responsibility on his sons,” according to a U.S. sentencing memo filed in September 2019 referring to his colloquy in court. In a filing made last month, he replied: “Beyond receiving payment for letting his sons use his property to store the cocaine, Lorenzana-Lima denies that he ever authorized, directed or otherwise had a supervisory role over what the sons were doing. He clearly acknowledged knowing what the sons were doing but does not accept that he was a leader or organizer of the criminal activity.” 

Two of his sons, Eliu Elixander Lorenzana-Cordon and Waldemar Lorenzana-Cordon, each were sentenced in 2018 to life in prison. A third son, Haroldo Lorenzana-Cordon, was captured in November 2019 by law enforcement in Guatemala, according to local media.

 

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