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GPS leads the way to slaying suspects

The positioning system in a police truck ties Guatemalan officers to the killing of three Salvadoran politicians.

February 23, 2007|From Times Wire Services

GUATEMALA CITY — Four Guatemalan policemen were arrested Thursday in the killing of three Salvadoran politicians and their driver after being linked to the deaths by a global positioning system in their vehicle, the government said.

Luis Herrera, the head of a special police unit charged with investigating organized crime, was captured after the GPS receiver in his police truck revealed that he had been at the scene of the kidnapping and the site where the bodies were found, authorities told reporters.

Herrera, along with three men from his unit, was also filmed by traffic cameras as he intercepted a car carrying the three members of the Guatemalan-based Central American regional parliament and their driver, the officials added.

The detained policemen obviously did not know the GPS was in their vehicle when they carried out the killings, Guatemalan police chief Erwin Sperisen said.

GPS receivers calculate their position in relation to orbiting satellites. The units are used frequently for navigation and to prevent vehicle theft.

Police are looking for two more agents believed to be part of Herrera's group, which is accused of kidnapping and killing the three congressmen along with their driver.

The slain politicians, Eduardo D'Aubuisson, William Pichinte and Jose Ramon Gonzalez, belonged to El Salvador's ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance party, known as Arena.

Eduardo D'Aubuisson was the son of the party's founder, Roberto D'Aubuisson, accused of heading death squads during the 1980s civil war in El Salvador.

The elder D'Aubuisson, who died in 1992, was found by a U.N.-backed truth commission to have ordered the 1980 assassination of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero.

The GPS in the agents' truck tracked the vehicle to a dirt track 22 miles outside Guatemala City where the four were shot, doused with fuel and set ablaze, authorities said.

Investigators said they had not determined a motive, but some officials said they suspected the slayings were politically motivated or linked to the region's gangs and crime groups.

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