GUATEMALA CITY – Judge Pablo Xitimul temporarily halted the transfer to another military prison of Guatemalan drug trafficker Marvin Montiel, who is serving an 820-year sentence for massacring 15 Nicaraguans and a Dutch citizen in 2008.
Xitimul on Wednesday visited the Matamoros Military Barracks, in Guatemala City, to become more familiar with the circumstances under which Montiel is being held.
Last Friday, a court had ordered Montiel, known as “El Taquero,” to be transferred to the Mariscal Zavala Brigade prison, located on the city’s northern periphery.
However, on Wednesday that order was rescinded and the judge said that it was temporarily being held in abeyance for “security” reasons.
The Mariscal Zavala prison holds more than 200 inmates, including former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, who is charged with corruption.
Judge Xitimul also announced that he will send an official to the National Forensic Sciences Institute, or Inacif, to conduct an evaluation of Montiel, who told him that he was suffering from back problems.
During the visit, he added, the prisoner asked for an orthopedic mattress, which – he said – will be authorized pending a medical evaluation.
The magistrate also said that he would permit the prisoner to have a microwave in his cell.
Montiel was transferred to Matamoros on July 19, one day after the massacre of 13 prisoners, including retired army Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, who was serving a 20-year sentence for the 1998 murder of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi, at Pavon Prison, located in the town of Fraijanes, 31 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of the capital.
An Argentine model who was visiting Lima was also killed in the riot, and Montiel – according to the preliminary investigation – may be one of those responsible for the murders.
Authorities are also investigating the possibility that another Guatemalan drug trafficker, Eduardo Villatoro Cano, might be the intellectual author of the massacre, possibly ordering Montiel to murder Lima, whose death is being investigated by the Public Ministry and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig.
Montiel’s transfer to Matamoros had been requested by the Interior Ministry because that prison has the conditions and security protocols to guarantee the life and rights of inmates with his notoriety.