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Guatemalan State of Siege

Police officers escort a man, third from left, suspected to participate in an attack to a jail, upon his arrival to Guatemala City, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010. Guatemalan authorities said 15 men stormed into a jail armed with assault rifles and a grenade launcher Wednesday and freed Elmer Aroldo Zelada, a man accused of killing a professional soccer player. Guatemala Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said authorities believe the group is affiliated with the Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel.  (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Police officers escort a man, third from left, suspected to participate in an attack to a jail, upon his arrival to Guatemala City, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010. Guatemalan authorities said 15 men stormed into a jail armed with assault rifles and a grenade launcher Wednesday and freed Elmer Aroldo Zelada, a man accused of killing a professional soccer player. Guatemala Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said authorities believe the group is affiliated with the Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)  (AP2010)

Guatemala is on the offensive against drug cartels who have thrived in the nations communities.  

The Guatemalan military has declared a state of siege in a province that they claim is controlled by Mexican drug traffickers.

Ronaldo Robles is a spokesman for the office of President Alvaro Colom. He says that the government has declared the monthlong measure in the Alta Verapaz province to reclaim cities that have allegedly been taken over by the Zetas drug gang.

The order went into effect Sunday. It allows the army to detain suspects without warrants, conduct warrantless searches, prohibit gun possession, and control the local news media.

In the city of Coban, national police and soldiers are searching homes and inspecting all cars as they enter and leave the provincial capital.

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Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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