Eight suspected members of the Mexico-based Los Zetas drug cartel went on trial here Monday for the May 2011 massacre of 27 farmworkers in northern Guatemala.

Two of the defendants are Mexican nationals.

The Zetas members were arrested during the months following the May 14-15 bloodbath at a ranch in the northern province of Peten.

The victims were employees at the Los Cocos spread, owned by reputed Guatemalan drug trafficker Otto Salguero, who the Zetas accused of supplying cocaine to the rival Gulf cartel.

At the site of the massacre authorities found a document with the notation "Z-200" on it, the nickname of a Zetas capo.

Founded by deserters from a Mexican special forces unit, Los Zetas began their criminal career as the armed wing of the Gulf outfit but eventually went into the drug business on their own account and now control smuggling routes in Mexico and Central America.

Los Zetas moved into Guatemala in 2007.

While officials lack detailed figures on the number of killings carried out by Los Zetas in Guatemala, they say the Mexican cartel has been behind at least a dozen massacres that have claimed the lives of about 100 people. 

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