Guatemala nabs alleged Zetas leader wanted in US

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In this photo released by the National Civil Police, masked soldiers escort Jairo Estuardo Orellana in handcuffs after his arrest as they bring him to an air force base in Guatemala City, late Thursday, May 15, 2014. Guatemala's Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla announced the government detained Orellana, an alleged member of Mexico's Zetas Cartel drug gang who is described by the U.S. government as one of the region's most important drug traffickers, during an operation in which two of Orellana's bodyguards we killed, as well as a police officer, in town of Gualan in the Zacapa department. (AP Photo/National Civil Police)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A suspected Zetas leader in Guatemala who is wanted in the United States was arrested following a firefight in the eastern part of the Central American country, a senior official said Friday.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said that Jairo Orellana Morales was captured in Zacapa province after a shootout with federal forces that killed a police officer and two others.

Lopez Bonilla said Orellana Morales was arrested Thursday along with seven of his accomplices.

After his arrest, Orellana Morales was flown to Guatemala City where he was shown to the press wearing only pants. His face was bruised.

The U.S. government last year imposed financial sanctions against the 40-year-old alleged drug trafficker under the Kingpin Act, which makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to do business with him and freezes his assets.

The U.S. government described him then as "a violent drug trafficker linked to the Zetas cartel."

Orellana Morales is the son-in-law of Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, a rancher who was accused of drug trafficking and extradited to the United States in March.

The rancher is alleged to have worked with the Sinaloa cartel to smuggle cocaine from Colombia through Guatemala and on to the United States.