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Inauguration of the Technical Assistance Unit of the Criminal Investigations Directorate in the Department of Zacapa, Guatemala

Guatemala, March 11, 2021. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (UNODC ROPAN), through its office in Guatemala, in the framework of the project "Strengthening the capacities of justice and security sector institutions in Central America for the prevention, identification and criminal prosecution of cybercrime, transnational organized crime and related cases through digital evidence: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize", funded by the Government of Canada, held the inauguration of the Regional Technical Assistance Unit of the Criminal Investigations Directorate in the department of Zacapa, of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

The location of the new headquarters of the Regional Technical Assistance Unit has the strategic value of providing coverage to the departments of Chiquimula, El Progreso and Izabal in order to streamline the processes of criminal investigation. Region III Northeast of the country will be able to cover 35% of the requests for information extraction from mobile devices and video analysis at the national level.

Within the framework of this project, UNODC provided technical support to the Public Prosecutor's Office in the process of staff selection, training in forensic tools and safeguarding of digital evidence; provided specialized forensic equipment and software; generated a coordination route to decentralize the demand of the prosecutors of Region III; facilitated workshops to socialize the services of the Regional Technical Assistance Unit to assistants and prosecutors of Chiquimula, El Progreso, Izabal and Zacapa; training in digital evidence and forensic analysis techniques.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by the Attorney General of the Republic of Guatemala and Head of the Public Prosecutor's Office, Consuelo Porras, who thanked UNODC and the Government of Canada for their invaluable support in strengthening the Criminal Investigations Directorate to achieve the best results for the benefit of the Guatemalan population.

Edgar Orlando Muñoz, First Deputy Secretary General of the Public Prosecutor's Office, said that "these actions will improve the effectiveness of the investigation and contribute to decongest the services provided by the unit, making the service more efficient for the region".

UNODC, in coordination with the Public Prosecutor's Office, has created two regional Technical Assistance Units, located in the departments of Quetzaltenango and Petén. The headquarters in Zacapa adds to the efforts to decentralize the services provided by the Unit to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Department of Analysis of Computer Crimes and Cybercrime.