Guatemalan presidential candidate arrested in Miami in drug-trafficking plot

April 18, 2019 | Brainwave Science

Guatemalan presidential candidate arrested in Miami in drug-trafficking plotSITUATION

A Guatemalan presidential candidate was arrested in Miami on Wednesday and charged with an elaborate plot to use drug cartel money to win the election and assassinate rivals, according to U.S. officials, two months before voters head to the polls.

Mario Estrada, a candidate of the center-right National Change Union, who is polling far behind other rivals, is accused along with another man, Juan Pablo Gonzalez, of seeking between $10 and $12 million from Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to fund his campaign and transport cocaine into the United States.

“Estrada and Gonzalez conspired to solicit Sinaloa Cartel money to finance a corrupt scheme to elect Estrada president of Guatemala,” Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

According to the statement, the two men pledged that if Estrada won the June 16 election, he would help the cartel transport drugs from Guatemalan airports and ports with the aid of complicit security officials.

The two also conspired to kill unnamed rival candidates, the U.S. attorney’s statement said.

The statement added that since January, several meetings with both men in Miami and Guatemala designed to advance the plot were held and recorded, in most cases with both video and audio.

Officials with Estrada’s party did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It could not be immediately determined who was legally representing the two accused men.

U.S. officials said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency assisted with the investigation, as well as the Guatemalan government.

Estrada, a 58-year-old former congressman, has lagged far behind in presidential opinion polls, with less than 3 percent support in one recent survey.

Alfredo Brito, a spokesman for Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, told Reuters the government would provide Estrada with the support needed to ensure his rights were respected “just like any Guatemalan citizen.”

Estrada (Guatemalan presidential candidate) “must clarify his legal situation given the accusations that have been made against him,” said Brito, who did not respond when asked to specify how the Guatemalan government assisted in the case.

The National Change Union party, which Estrada founded, holds just six seats in the 158-member Congress and has typically supported the policies of Morales’ government.

Estrada and Gonzalez, also charged with a related weapons offense, could face life behind bars in the United States if convicted.

The Guatemalan presidential race has been led by Thelma Aldana, the country’s former attorney general; Zury Rios, the daughter of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt; and former first lady Sandra Torres.

CHALLENGE

In this opportune bust, a top player involved in the drug trade, election fixing, weapons offenses, and murder plots has been arrested with a close aide. This catch is extremely valuable for the Drug Enforcement Administration and Guatemalan government. However, there are major challenges associated with handling this case. With the arrest of Estrada and Gonzalez, the investigating agencies potentially may have access to a vast amount of information related to the existing drug trade, their weapons offenses, election fixing, and assassination plots. The illegal drug trade in Guatemala includes trans-shipment of cocaine to the United States. According to some reports, Mexican drug cartels such as Sinaloa have also established poppy growing operations there. There is a reported relationship between the Mexican Los Zetas cartel and the Guatemalan Kaibiles military force. The information possessed by Estrada and Gonzalez is extremely valuable and can help the agencies make significant progress in the war against drug trafficking and related crime.

The challenge is that ‘modern’ investigation and interrogation techniques require a long-awaited overhaul. There is a vast amount of intelligence which can be gathered from interrogating and investigating the arrested men; however, a question-and-answer or torture based technique is not efficient and quick enough to extract the truth.

High-profile kingpins and drug-lords avoid direct participation and have their tracks covered through a complex hierarchy in the criminal organization. Even if they are arrested and being tried, it is very difficult to prove their guilt. However, it can be agreed that the culprit has an indelible memory of the crime which he or she has committed or planned. unfortunately, methods in use currently do not offer the capability to objectively detect the awareness of crime-specific information in the brain of a suspect.

To add to the challenge, the political protection which Estrada and Gonzalez enjoy will interfere with the investigative process and make it highly subjective. Considering the above challenges, there is an increasing need for a way to gather intelligence from a suspect in a humane, yet accurate and objective manner.

WHY ICOGNATIVE?

It has been observed that in high-profile cases like that of Guatemalan presidential candidates namely Estrada and Gonzalez, justice is often obstructed and heavily delayed. What the investigative agencies need is a way to reliably and accurately screen suspects without prejudices and influences. Polygraph testing, DNA and fingerprints are available in only 1-2% of the cases. In the absence of the above, it can take years to prove who is guilty. A modern technology called iCognative offered by Brainwave Science is the solution to the problems listed above. One usually associates interrogation with torture, however Brainwave Science believes in the elimination of the same. Being a non-invasive technique, it can determine if the person being tested has awareness of specific information or not. Only iCognative can help law enforcers to tap into the brain of Estrada and Gonzalez and ascertain if he has knowledge of aiding the drug operations, and communicating with the Sinaloa Cartel. iCognative system can read clues that link the arrested man to the spectrum of organized crime. iCognative is not a narrow-spectrum technology but widely applicable to departments such as law enforcement, national security, border control, immigration, cybercrime, fraud, espionage, counter-terrorism, human and drug trafficking.

The results of iCognative are 99.9% accurate.   iCognative test can be run on these two arrested high-profile suspects. iCognative system comprises a proprietary wireless headset and a computer which analyzes his brain-response to pictures, words, and phrases related to the operations. The person who has planned and/or committed the crime will know minute details which innocent people will not. Criminal investigations can now be conducted in a reliable and accurate manner, without running the risk of being biased and traumatic.  Investigators can quickly screen suspects and focus on the one who is most likely to be the perpetrator, identify or exonerate suspects based on measuring their brain-wave responses to crime-related images, words or phrases which are displayed on a computer screen. These inputs are also called stimuli.

In the iCognative test of Estrada ((Guatemalan presidential candidate) and Gonzalez , the stimuli can contact details and attempted contacts with Sinaloa Cartel, crime-related details with the weapon offences in the United States, intimate details of the travel plans of the rival candidates, video or audio tappings of the communication between Estrada and criminals with relation to the drug trafficking agreement, etc.

It is easy to fool conventional investigative techniques but iCognative system has no countermeasures. Moreover, it is immune to the opinions of the test administrator.

The system is applicable to more than 85% of all criminal and civil cases. iCognative can not only help in cases of indirect criminal participation but also help reverse-engineer criminal organizations through foot-soldiers. iCognative can help agencies to match the testimonies suspects, victims, or witnesses with existing intelligence.

iCognative is a scientifically proven system. It is highly portable and easy to use. It is an automated cloud-based technology, which can be utilized by all law enforcement and national intelligence departments.x

To ensure a fighting chance against and a possibility of ending of the drug menace in the Americas, the Law enforcement and Drug Enforcement agencies need to deploy iCognative system. iCognative aids in the reduction of drug trafficking crimes by exceeding the capabilities offered by any other interrogation or investigation tool.

Main Source: REUTERS

Image Source: SCMP