Former agents of Guatemala’s National Civil Police and a former mayor have been sentenced to prison on several charges, according to a court ruling Friday.
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Eighteen former agents of the motorized unit of the National Civil Police were found guilty, with a Guatemalan court handing out sentences spanning from 18 to 136 years of imprisonment.
They were charged with robbery and kidnapping.
According to the ruling, the police agents were part of a criminal ring that operated between 2007 and 2012, which blackmailed people who arrived at several exchange houses located in Guatemala city.
The group would target people who purchased or sold currencies and would later follow them until they robbed and kidnapped them for a specific amount of time.
Acusado de plagio o secuestro y asociación ilegal de gente armada, Humberto Santos Gómez Pérez, de 61 años. pic.twitter.com/F0AsB7Y1LG
— PNC Guatemala (@PNCdeGuatemala) May 5, 2015
Accused of plagiarism, kidnapping and illegal association of armed people, Humberto Santos Gomez Perez, 61
The victims were later transferred to "unknown destinations" where they were released, court documents revealed.
According to the investigation, based on the testimonies of about 14 victims, the network stole up to US$137,000.
The court also sentenced Humberto Santos Gomez Perez, a former mayor of Tejutla municipality, to 133 years in prison for kidnapping 20 people in 2010.
The Attorney General’s office said that the former mayor, who was also charged with abuse of authority, participated in the creation of a "citizen security board" that illegally detained people, which included six police officers who were suspected of "committing wrongdoing."
The court sentenced the politician to 125 years in prison for kidnapping and eight years for abuse of authority.