[Marxism] Juarez Police Finally Begin to Come Under Investigation re: Murders of Women

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 20 18:24:59 MST 2004


Gains made in Juárez inquiries
Authorities investigate possible police role in women's slayings

Friday, February 13, 2004
By ALFREDO CORCHADO and RICARDO SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico – While authorities continue investigating possible 
police involvement in recent drug-related slayings, a leading Mexican 
investigator said that officials are also looking for a former city police 
officer suspected in a string of killings of young women.    The federal 
investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in an interview that 
authorities are making significant progress in the investigation into the 
killings of 14 women. Their deaths, which are part of a federal 
investigation because they involve federal crimes, constitute only a handful 
of the more than 300 slayings of women in Juárez over the last decade.

The investigator listed several lines of inquiry. In addition to 
investigating the former police officer, authorities are examining a "public 
educational institution" where at least four victims attended classes, a 
local physician and drug gangs. Investigators also have a recorded voice 
from phone calls made to the families of some victims – calls made with 
cellphones that belonged to the victims.
"We're making progress, one day at a time," the investigator said.

The reported progress comes as hundreds of people are expected to join 
actresses Jane Fonda and Sally Field in a march todayaimed at raising 
awareness of the unsolved killings of women in Ciudad Juárez.   The march, 
which will start in El Paso and ends in downtown Juárez, is for "retaking 
the streets of Juárez," said Esther Chávez Cano, director of Casa Amiga, one 
of several event organizers. "Our goal is to show our unity, strength and 
solidarity with the women of Juárez. We are hardworking people who are fed 
up with police impunity."

The sharpened focus on a possible police role in the women's killings stems 
in part from the discovery in late January of the bodies of 12 men buried in 
the yard of a Juárez residence. Police said the home had been used by a 
suspected drug trafficker who was arrested Jan. 15 and is being held in El 
Paso.    Thirteen police officers – most of them members of State Police 
Cmdr. Miguel Ángel Loya Gallegos' night-shift homicide detail – have been 
detained and taken to Mexico City for questioning in connection with the 
discovery of the bodies. Cmdr. Loya and three others remain at large, 
investigators said, and another dozen local police officers have failed to 
show up for work in recent weeks.

Authorities have been digging in the yards of at least six homes searching 
for more victims of drug-related violence. Officials said this week that at 
least two more bodies are believed buried at one location, and possibly more 
at others.    A senior U.S. law enforcement official, speaking on condition 
of anonymity, said the slain men were probably independent drug traffickers 
who tried to operate in Ciudad Juárez without the permission of suspected 
Juárez cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.

Law enforcement authorities on both sides of the border cautioned that they 
have not established a solid connection between police and the women's 
killings, but they said the possibility of a police role has become a focus 
of their investigations.    "These are crimes committed by powerful people 
who know their way around and who are not afraid of transporting bodies from 
one end of the city to the other," said another senior U.S. law enforcement 
official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Who fits this profile, if not 
policemen? We don't have the evidence, but our raw intelligence certainly 
points in that direction."

In Mexico City, José Luís Santiago Vasconcelos, chief of Mexico's organized 
crime task force, confirmed in an interview that municipal police are also 
under investigation in connection with both the women's killings and drug 
trafficking.   Concrete evidence may emerge from the Mexican federal 
investigation into some of the women's murders, investigators said. The 
Mexican investigator said during an interview that authorities want to 
question a former Ciudad Juárez police officer whose whereabouts are 
unknown. Investigators are also talking to the former officer's partners.

The Mexican official said there is a common factor in the drug violence and 
women's murders that cannot be overlooked: the emergence of local and state 
police as hired guns for the region's powerful drug cartel coincided with 
the start of women's killings in 1993.    "We cannot discard the possibility 
of a connection," the Mexican official said. "It's a strong possibility. 
Maybe 1993 is not such a coincidence."

"The similarities and timeline are too important to ignore," said Jaime 
Hervella, president of the Association of Relatives and Friends of 
Disappeared Persons.   Mr. Hervella's organization says that 32 U.S. 
citizens are among those who have gone missing in Ciudad Juárez in the last 
decade. The group has pressured Mexican federal authorities to take over the 
investigations from state and municipal police.

Mexican officials say there is much at stake in solving the drug killings 
and the women's killings. Lawlessness in Ciudad Juárez represents the most 
pressing public safety challenge yet for the Fox administration, which has 
won international praise for its work against drug trafficking and organized 
crime. Now the federal government will "rescue Ciudad Juárez from the 
criminal elements," Mr. Vasconcelos said.   The work appears to be paying 
dividends.   Of 217 women reported missing in 2003, only four remain 
unaccounted for, authorities said.

A new sign of the reach and power of drug organizations came to light this 
week in Palomas, a border town 100 miles west of Ciudad Juárez. A U.S. law 
enforcement official in El Paso said Friday that eight Palomas police 
officers, along with one officer's wife and child, fled for safety to 
Columbus, N.M., this week after a member of a drug-trafficking family was 
given a traffic citation. Four of the eight officers have since returned to 
Mexico, the U.S. official said, but the other four and the spouse are 
applying for political asylum in the United States.

A critical factor in a reduction of violent crime in Ciudad Juárez, 
investigators said, is that federal police have taken the place of local 
police in key areas of the city, including downtown Juárez and the outlying 
desert shanty towns of Anapra and Lomo de Poleo – two of the region's 
poorest communities, where dozens of the bodies have been discovered since 
1993.    "Welcome to the poorest of the poor," said Lomo de Poleo resident 
Paula Flores de González, who plans to march today in memory of her slain 
daughter, Sagrario, whose body was discovered six years ago. "We have always 
said, any investigation needs to begin with the abuse of power by 
policemen."

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