A maintenance worker from Santa Ana must leave the country, according to a ruling issued yesterday by Judge Lorraine J. Munoz at the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse. Pedro Pimentel Rios, 54, will likely be flown to Guatemala to stand trial in one of the most brutal mass slayings in that country's long civil war, the 1982 “Dos Erres” massacre. “It is regarded as one of the most atrocious atrocities during the conflict,” Adriana Beltran of the Washington Office on Latin America told the LA Times, which broke news of the ruling yesterday evening on its L.A. Now blog.
Pimentel is alleged to have been a member of the Guatemalan army's elite Kaibiles, a special forces group that committed numerous human rights violations during the war. The massacre at Dos Erres, a remote hamlet in Guatemala's northern department of El Peten, occurred when a detachment of Kaibiles arrived at the village looking for left-wing insurgents who'd recently ambushed an army convoy nearby. In an apparent effort to win information from townspeople, the soldiers lined up residents, including women and small children, one by one and began smashing their heads open with a sledgehammer before tossing them in a well.
Other villagers were shot or strangled, with women repeatedly raped over a two-day period, during which several more residents had the misfortune of arriving at Dos Erres, not realizing what was happening until it was too late and they too were killed. 251 people were allegedly murdered before the unit filled the well and burned down the houses. Guatemala's civil war officially ended in 1996, but it was only last year when the justice system stabilized enough for several former Kaibiles still in the country to finally be arrested and charged in the massacre.
In an article on GlobalPost, Pimentel is described as a Kaibil commando who raped several women
during the massacre and who shortly thereafter became an instructor at
the U.S. Army's infamous School of the Americas in Panama, whose
graduation roster reads like a who's-who list of dictators, torturers,
and human rights violators. Several other alleged participants, including Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, a Moreno Valley karate instructor, have been arrested for deportation so far.
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is managing editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).