01/27/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/27/2020 22:44
Earlier today, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr met with the Attorney General of Guatemala Maria Consuelo Porras Argueta in Washington, DC. They discussed ways to strengthen efforts to combat transnational organized crime and reduce illegal migration to the United States through increased cooperation and capacity building of law enforcement partners. They discussed their shared commitment to protecting the security and safety of the citizens of both the United States and Guatemala from transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and gangs. Today's meeting was a follow-up dialogue to the May 2019 Third Ministerial of the Northern Triangle Attorneys General in El Salvador.
They discussed the continued progress of the Justice Department's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) capacity-building efforts in the Guatemalan judicial sector and key role in bringing together the Attorneys General from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to form the Regional Shield operations targeting MS-13 and other gangs. Additionally, they discussed ongoing accomplishments in combating violence in the region from transnational gangs, particularly MS-13 and 18th Street gangs. Regional Shield anti-gang efforts led to the arrest of more than 1,000 gang members in the past year. Also during that time, eleven smuggling/trafficking structures were dismantled in Guatemala.
Both Attorneys General agreed to continue working closely together through greater operational collaboration and intelligence sharing, including increased law enforcement coordination to fight corruption and impunity and strengthen the rule of law for the benefit of all Guatemalans and further criminal investigations in drug and human trafficking, emerging organized criminal groups, cyber and intellectual property crimes.
Attorney General Barr thanked the Government of Guatemala for extraditing fugitives to the United States and said that extradition sends a strong message to criminal organizations that our countries remain committed to the rule of law and are not safe havens for criminals. Additionally, Attorney General Barr applauded Guatemala's efforts to fight corruption and criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking and its continual efforts to root out organizations involved in human smuggling.
The Attorneys General agreed that transnational crime affects both countries and that with continual cooperation we can dismantle these organizations, reduce violent crime, and generate stability and prosperity.
Continued bilateral law enforcement collaboration and successful law enforcement programs between the United States and Guatemala remain a priority for the U.S. Government.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.