Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes was born in Guatemala City in 1958 as the third of six children of a military family. His father worked as a martial arts instructor for the Guatemalan army. Sosa Orantes graduated from officer school as a sub-lieutenant in 1979. He then held various posts in different regions, was trained as a paratroop and commanded an honour guard of 40 soldiers. In 1981, he became an instructor at the Kaibil school, which trained special commando units. It was the Kaibiles who were responsible for the Dos Erres Massacre.
Between 1962 and 1996, Guatemala experienced an internal armed conflict which ended with the signing of the Peace on 29 December 1996 and resulted in 250,000 victims (fatalities and missing persons).
In March 1982, a coup brought Efrain Rios Montt to power and made him head of the military junta. His scorched earth policy led to widespread repression, characterized by massacres against the Indian population and the obliteration of 440 Indian villages. Hundreds of thousands of victims were buried in secret mass graves.
From 6 to 8 December 1982 a military operation was launched against the civilian population of the subdivision “Las Dos Erres” in the department of Petén, which had been designated red zone (population guerrilla sympathizers).
Following orders of the Guatemalan Military High Command, Sosa Orantes and troops under his command surrounded Dos Erres, preventing anyone from escaping, and searched every home for weapons. They separated the men from the women and children and then, in the course of three days, systematically killed the villagers. Among others, they killed all the babies, hitting them in the head with a sledgehammer, and threw them into a well. Members of the special patrol also forcibly raped many of the women and girls for days at Dos Erres before killing them. In the attacks on the village of Dos Erres, more than 200 men, women and children were massacred.
Before the Guatemalan civil war officially ended, Sosa Orantes fled the country in 1985 and applied for asylum in the United States. The application was rejected in mid-September 1985. After three years, during which Sosa Orantes was seeking political asylum at the Canadian Consulate, he moved to Canada in 1988 as a legal immigrant and obtained Canadian citizenship in 1992. He settled with his family in Lethbridge, Alberta, where he set up a karate school. Only shortly after, he divorced his wife and moved back to the U.S. to teach karate in New York. There he married for a second time, to a Guatemala-born U.S. citizen. It is thanks to this marriage that Sosa Orantes obtained a Green Card in 1998. He left his wife and moved to Riverside, California, where he would later run four karate schools.
He divorced his second wife in 2006 and remarried in California. In 2007 he applied for U.S. citizenship, which he was granted in September 2008. On his citizenship form, Sosa Orantes responded negatively to a question asking if he had committed a crime for which he had not been arrested.
Three months later, investigators finally started to look into Sosa Orante’s past more carefully. In May 2010, federal agents searched his home in California, whereupon he quickly traveled to Canada via Mexico.
On 2 September 2010, a Federal Judge from the Central District Court of California issued a warrant for the arrest of Sosa Orantes, charging him with making false statements on his U.S. citizenship application. He is accused of lying to American immigration authorities about whether he had committed a crime or been a member of a military organization when he applied for U.S. citizenship.
He was arrested on 18 January 2011 in Lethbridge, Canada.