Guatemala court issues 800-year prison term over massacre

Rigoberto Danilo Morales, 37, was arrested in 2022 after spending 13 years on the run

January 24, 2024 12:24 am | Updated 12:24 am IST - Guatemala City

A court in Guatemala sentenced an accused drug lord on January 22 to 808 years in prison over the massacre of 15 Nicaraguans and one Dutch citizen in 2008, a judicial source said.

The court handed down the sentence against Rigoberto Danilo Morales for taking part in the killings.

In 2016 another alleged drug kingpin, Marvin Montiel Marin, was also sentenced to a long prison term over the massacre.

The court said Morales got 50 years for each killing and another eight years for criminal association.

Despite this long jail sentence, Guatemalan law stipulates that a prisoner can actually serve no more than 50 years in prison.

Morales, 37, was arrested in 2022 after spending 13 years on the run. His trial started in September.

According to prosecutors, in the 2008 massacre a bus that entered Guatemala from Nicaragua carrying the victims was intercepted by alleged drug traffickers.

They believed it was carrying drugs, too, but when they realised it was not they shot the travelers and burned the bodies at an estate owned by Montiel, prosecutors have said.

Eight other people including Montiel and his wife Sara Cruz have been convicted in the case and sentenced to prison terms of varying length.

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