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200 Marines in Guatemala hunt Zeta drug cartel

Marines are part of Operation Martillo, or Hammer, working with federal agents to block drug shipment routes.

drugs in guatemala juan ortiz lopezEnlarge
View of some cocaine packs --of a 336 kg confiscation-- seized after a confrontation with alleged drug-traffickers in the municipality of Rancho, Progreso Department, some 80 km north of Guatemala City, on May 31, 2011. (Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images)

The war on drugs is alive and well.

According to Wired, 200 Marines recently entered Guatemala as part of a larger US operation to hunt the Zeta drug cartel.

The magazine reported the Marines are there for Operation Martillo, or Hammer, which involves "the Navy, Coast Guard, and federal agents working with the Guatemalans to block drug shipment routes."

Wired's Robert Beckhusen called Operation Martillo a major shift in previous policy to the region saying earlier missions to Guatemala involved more "soft power" operations like training locals on the ground, not actually hunting traffickers themselves.

More from GlobalPost: Mexico: US Embassy employees shot by police

The news comes at a critical juncture for US involvement in region.

As GlobalPost reported just last week, two CIA agents involved in the agency's war on drug traffickers were shot in Mexico by Mexican plain-clothed police.

According to the New York Times, the operatives were wounded when the officers opened fire on their US Embassy vehicle outside Mexico City.

More from GlobalPost: Mexico President Felipe Calderon expresses regret over US Embassy vehicle shooting

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/120830/200-marines-guatemala-hunt-zeta-drug-cartel