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Guatemalans Arrested For Arms Stockpiling

February 26, 1993

TEHUACAN, Mexico (AP) _ Police have charged a member of a Guatemalan rebel group and his wife with stockpiling weapons after finding an arsenal in their home in this central Mexican city.

Police found 34 rockets, 12 mortar grenades, 25 mines, 10 rocket heads, 12 rocket launchers 60 grenades and 12 mortars in the home of Cesar Mauricio Garcia Mendez and his wife Saturnina Garcia Salazar, the news agency Notimex reported Thursday.

Both were Guatemalan citizens, the agency said. They were arrested and charged with arms stockpiling.

Garcia Mendez said he was a member of the National Revolutionary Guatemalan Unity, a leftist rebel group that is fighting the right-wing Guatemalan government.

Representatives of the Guatemalan government and the rebels have been meeting in Mexico City this week to try to negotiate a solution to the 30- year-old Guatemalan civil war. The rebels keep an office in Mexico City.

More than 120,000 people have been killed in Guatemala’s civil war, the longest lasting armed conflict in Latin America.

Police in Tehuacan, 130 miles southeast of Mexico City, said they discovered the arsenal after a small gun powder explosion in the house, Notimex said. Garcia Mendez suffered minor injuries in the explosion, police said.

The agency did not say how long the couple had lived in Mexico.

If convicted the two will serve their sentences and then be deported to Guatemala, police spokeswoman Manuela Barradas Rivera told the agency.

The arms were being held at a local Mexican army base.

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