Guatemalan authorities regain control of ‘El Infiernito’ prison

Guatemalan authorities regain control of ‘El Infiernito’ prison

In Guatemala, ‘El Infiernito’ or Little Hell prison was uncovered as a hub for criminal activities, including operating a call center for scams.

GUATEMALAN authorities have transferred 225 members of the ‘Barrio 18’ gang from the Maximum-Security Facility known as ‘El Infiernito.’

Shockingly, within the prison’s walls, inmates enjoyed amenities like televisions, refrigerators, pets, and even ran a call center for extortion and other crimes.

In a statement on X, Francisco Jiménez, Minister of the Department of Homeland Security, declared,

 “There is no longer a single inmate in the “El Infiernito” prison. This prison is the country’s again. We are going to restructure it so it will become a real maximumsecurity prison, according to Francisco Jiménez, Minister, Department of Homeland Security.

Additionally, prisoners had access to amenities like air conditioning, TVs, and refrigerators. Moreover, domestic animals like chickens were found on the premises, along with a crocodile-filled lake.

During a prior operation, authorities dismantled a sophisticated “call center” within the prison, equipped with cell phones and internet connections.

Minister Jiménez blamed “previous governments” for relinquishing prison control to criminals. He pledged to root out hidden spaces called “caletas,” where money, weapons, and cell phones were stashed. The plan is to transform the facility into a high-security prison with stringent controls and advanced technology.

This operation comes in the wake of President Bernardo Arévalo’s acknowledgment that organized crime dominates parts of the capital. This admission follows a UN call to curb gang recruitment among minors.

The ‘Barrio 18’ and ‘Mara Salvatrucha’ groups vie for territorial control to extort transporters and merchants. Those who resist payment face fatal consequences. Authorities also acknowledge that most extortion calls originate from within prisons.

In 2023, Guatemala recorded over four thousand homicides, equivalent to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, with half attributed to drug trafficking and gangs.


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