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La. Rep. Mike Johnson, Sen. Cassidy meet with Guatemalan Ambassador on detained Shreveport resident


WASHINGTON, D.C. (KLFY) – Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson and Senator Bill Cassidy met with Manuel Alfredo Espina Pinto, Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala, to discuss the case of Zachary Wilson of Shreveport, La.

Wilson is currently being detained by Guatemalan authorities after he traveled to the country in March for a mission trip with the Word of God Church.

Authorities say they discovered hunting ammunition in Wilson’s bag while he was attempting to return to the United States after his mission trip and he was placed under arrest.

According to Representative Johnson’s office, Wilson suffers from ulcerative colitis and has received special medication for his condition.

Wilson’s family says the ability to ship his medication is becoming increasingly difficult.

They say it is expensive to ship the medication to Wilson, he does not have much left from his last prescription and the drugs he takes are not available in Guatemala.

“Since Zack Wilson was first detained this spring, I have been working on his behalf to secure swift and appropriate action by the Guatemalan government so he can return home to his family. I am encouraged by our meeting today with the new ambassador, Mr. Espina. He has committed to assist us with this time-sensitive matter as we continue to work through both the U.S. and Guatemalan governments to ensure Zack’s safe return home,” said Rep. Johnson.

“As a doctor, I went over his medical condition with the ambassador and explained his urgent medical needs,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Ambassador Espina agreed to make an inquiry into the legal and medical aspects of Mr. Wilson’s case and the interplay between the two. We are doing everything within our power to ensure the well-being of Mr. Wilson and to bring him home while respecting the rule of law in Guatemala.”

Johnson’s office says Wilson previously petitioned the Guatemalan government to allow his return to the U.S. to receive treatment while he awaits his trial, but the motion was denied.

Cassidy, Johnson and Espina had a productive meeting and the Ambassador committed to follow up with an update in a week.

Congressman Johnson attended the meeting by phone.

Earlier this year, Johnson led a letter to Guatemala’s then Ambassador to the U.S., Gladys Marithza Ruiz de Vielman.

The letter was signed by Reps. Ralph Abraham (LA-05), Brett Guthrie (KY-02) and Jason Smith (MO-08) who represent members of Wilson’s family in Congress.

Additionally, Johnson spoke to several Guatemalan officials about this ongoing issue and has spoken to the U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, Todd D. Robinson, over the past several months.

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