World

Guatemala Extends State of Siege in Gang-Infested Border Province

A woman waits for a bus as a soldier stands guard at a checkpoint in Coban, Guatemala, Tuesday Dec. 21, 2010.  The Guatemalan military declared a monthlong state of siege Sunday in Alta Verapaz in hopes of reclaiming cities that have been taken over by Mexico's brutal Zetas drug gang. Local leaders of the mountainous northern province, which has become a prime corridor for smuggling drugs from Honduras to Mexico, say they have been asking state and federal authorities to intervene for two years now. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

A woman waits for a bus as a soldier stands guard at a checkpoint in Coban, Guatemala, Tuesday Dec. 21, 2010. The Guatemalan military declared a monthlong state of siege Sunday in Alta Verapaz in hopes of reclaiming cities that have been taken over by Mexico's brutal Zetas drug gang. Local leaders of the mountainous northern province, which has become a prime corridor for smuggling drugs from Honduras to Mexico, say they have been asking state and federal authorities to intervene for two years now. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)  (AP2010)

A day after Mexican federal authorities arrested one of the founders of the brutal Zetas drug gang, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom announced that he is extending a state siege on a border province controlled by that gang.

Colom says the month-long state of siege that began on Dec. 19 when hundreds of police and soldiers were sent to Alta Verapaz province has been successful, but that he'll extend it an extra month "because more needs to be done."

The measure lets the army detain suspects without warrants, conduct warrantless searches, prohibit gun possession and public gatherings, and control the local news media.

The Zetas began controlling cocaine traffic in the area in 2008 after killing Guatemalan drug boss Juan Jose "Juancho" Leon.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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