Juan “Andres” Gutierrez Castro, 45, Lopez “Bud Light” Mateo Mateo, 42, Felipe “Siete” Diego Alonzo, 38, and Nesly Norberto “Canche” Martinez Gomez, 37, were United States fugitives. They are accused of conspiring with other smugglers to facilitate the travel of large numbers of migrants from Guatemala to the U.S. via Mexico between August 2019 and April 2022.
Gutierrez Castro, Mateo Mateo, Diego Alonzo and Martinez Gomez allegedly charged the migrants and their families approximately $10,000 to $12,000 for the dangerous journey. In February 2021, the four men allegedly agreed to smuggle a young indigenous woman from Quiche, Guatemala to the U.S. in exchange for almost $10,000.
In April 2021, Gutierrez Castro, Mateo Mateo, Diego Alonzo, Martinez Gomez and other co-conspirators allegedly directed the Quiche woman on a journey on foot through the desert, which took several days. As a result of the journey, she died in Odessa, Texas, USA.
In June 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice‘s Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA) was created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to disrupt and dismantle the human smuggling and trafficking networks operating in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. JTFA is made possible by substantial law enforcement investment from DHS and other partners including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Coordinated under JTFA, Gutierrez Castro, Mateo Mateo, Diego Alonzo and Martinez Gomez were indicted in the U.S. and U.S. authorities provided assistance to Guatemala’s police force Policía Nacional Civil (PNC). On August 2, 2022, the PNC executed 26 search warrants in five areas in Guatemala namely Alta, Baja Verapaz, El Quiché, Huehuetenango and Totonicapán.
The PNC arrested Gutierrez Castro, Mateo Mateo, Diego Alonzo and Martinez Gomez and 15 other individuals. Cash, firearms and 10 high valued motor vehicles were also recovered as a result of the search warrants.