The Ghost

December 12, 2017 Crime , North America , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

AP photo



Ricardo Swire


Caribbean internal security intelligence officials underscore the growing relationships between South American organized crime personalities, the military and political officials. In November 2016 a joint American/Guatemalan law enforcement team indicted and extradited a Guatemalan drug Kingpin to the United States (US). Marlon Monroy, known as “El Fantasma” or “The Ghost”, was captured in the Guatemalan city of Antigua by counter-narcotic operatives during a sting operation twenty-five kilometers from Guatemala City. The Ghost’s arrest was supported by a Provisional Arrest Warrant (PAW) used in international circumstances, where a suspect is not wanted for crimes in his/her home country.

The PAW is issued after agreement between two governments. The warrant mainly targets Kingpins and its authority incorporates extradition processes. Concurrent with The Ghost’s arrest Guatemalan counter-narcotics agents intercepted 673 kilos of cocaine smuggled across the Pacific Ocean aboard a high-speed boat. Evidence suggested the consignment was managed by the former military officer’s trafficking syndicate. The Ghost’s detention left a power vacuum in western Guatemala. It was quickly filled by “Komander,” the second-in-command to “El Pelon” one of The Ghost’s main rivals.

On Thursday November 2, 2017 the Guatemalan Kingpin was extradited to America, and named in the Southern District of Florida federal court charges. He is accused of conspiring to traffic more than 500 kilos of cocaine to the US. The arrest warrant describes the Guatemalan ex-military officer as the nexus of several “high-level” schemes involving local elites. The Ghost confessed his quid pro quo was a US$500,000 payment to a corrupt national administrator for “placement” of four military officials of his choosing in government posts.

The retired military man turned criminal functioned as an expert at moving drug shipments by sea for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and several Colombian cocaine trafficking syndicates. He utilized rogue military connections to facilitate his drug shipments transiting the Pacific coast ports of Itapúa and Monterrico. The military participants also helped control Guatemala’s main drug transit routes. Protected cocaine shipments departed Guatemala travelled north, transited Mexico and unloaded in America.

Caribbean internal security intelligence officials are aware “The Brotherhood” and “The Syndicate” represents Guatemala’s military mafia. Reports note the “Escuela Politecnica” has virtual monopoly of the country’s military academy. The officer corps occupies such a prominent position in Guatemala’s power structure that the Escuela Politecnica qualifies as an elite institution. Civilian intransigent elites have morphed to lobbying groups made up of family and business alliances.

Trends show such syndicates introduce protectionist policies that enhance business. Traditionally, Guatemala’s national electoral campaigns are secretly funded by local criminal empires to guarantee control of the highest government officials. Sophisticated integration tactics and payola, such as The Ghost’s US$500,000 cash gift to Guatemala’s current Vice-President’s son towards his father’s political aspirations, are typical methods.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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