Two Guatemalans suspected of belonging to Mexico's Los Zetas drug cartel were arrested in a town in northern Guatemala, President Otto Perez Molina said.
The suspects "are hitmen and members of the operations group of Los Zetas," which has a presence in northern Guatemala, the president said.
Edwin Otoniel Sis and Abel de Jesus Bolvito were arrested at a soccer field Sunday afternoon in Salama, a city about 180 kilometers ( miles) north of Guatemala City, by National Civilian Police, or PNC, officers.
De Jesus participated in the May 14, 2011, massacre of 27 peasants at a ranch in Guatemala's Peten province, which borders Mexico and Belize, Perez Molina said, citing investigators.
"Abel de Jesus is accused of having participated in the massacre at the Los Cocos ranch," where peasants were shot and beheaded by suspected Zetas gunmen seeking to punish the property's owner, the president said.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
Los Zetas has been blamed for several massacres in recent years.
The cartel was accused of being behind the Aug. 23, 2010, massacre of 72 migrants, the majority of them from Latin America, at a ranch outside San Fernando, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
Zetas gunmen set fire to the Casino Royale in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, on Aug. 25, 2011, killing 52 gamblers and employees trapped inside, most of whom died of smoke inhalation.
Los Zetas, which began moving into Guatemala in mid-2007, has been battling local gangs for control of the illegal drug trade.
The Mexican cartel, according to Guatemalan officials, is the most dangerous criminal organization operating in the Central American country. EFE