Guatemala Creates US-Trained Force To Fight Drugs

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala has a new, U.S.-trained elite force to combat drug trafficking.

The force consists of 24 members of the Guatemalan navy and 25 police. All received tactical training from the U.S. Border Patrol, and will be deployed on major drug raids.

President Alvaro Colom presented the new force in a ceremony on Monday.

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland said recently that from 200 to 300 tons of cocaine pass through Guatemala on the way to the U.S. each year. But in a report released last week, the U.S. State Department said cocaine seizures in Guatemala have been minimal.

Guatemala has repeatedly restructured its anti-narcotics forces to root out agents in the pay of drug trafficking gangs.