Beheadings, Cop Murders and 3 Reporter Attacks
Three reporters for the Culiacán daily, El Debate, were attacked by federal preventive police yesterday. One of the reporters was forced into a police car and held for ten minutes with a gun to his head. The attack tops off a deadly week of murder in Sinaloa, with six cops killed, gunfights exploding outside the state capital and cops running scared.
“They told me, you don’t know who you’re fucking with; we’re not cops from here. Go complain with whomever you want,” says one of the El Debate reporters, a young man I’ve known for several years, Torivio Bueno Leon.
The incident started when the two reporters and a photographer were taking photos of the federal cops’ checkpoint. The cops didn’t want them shooting the checkpoint, a common wish most of them seem to have, and an argument started. The photographer told his own paper they used a knife to slice the camera strap but he still managed to retain the camera.
The federáles chased them into the newspaper building where a guard shut the steel cage door and the photographer snapped them pounding on the bars.
What’s interesting is that the PFP commander called the newspaper to apologize, saying his officers were nervous because of the number of cop murders in the past two weeks. Smart move on his part and perhaps without some sound reasoning behind the cops’ actions.
Banners have been going up all over the city, threatening cops at every level with death, supposedly at the hands of Arturo Beltrán Leyva.
But the cops are also starting to lose control and, apologies or not, public opinion is turning against their heavy-handedness in Pres. Felipe Calderón’s drug war.
Everybody’s getting nervous and the cops are losing control.
Government officials and the media, particularly the Americans, seem to have a love affair with Mexican law enforcement. Their message: that the narcos are attacking the cops because they’ve been effective battling organized crime.
I realize I’m a cynical bastard but I doubt that the cop murders are the result of handy police work. After all, how many important narcos have been arrested? A quick check with Justice Department officials in the U.S. shows the best proof of law enforcement’s failings against the narcos – street narcotics prices remain at a constant.
Still, the cops are sketchy.
Sunday evening, Chihuahua, PFP officers killed a 21-year-old, shooting him in the back when the driver of the truck he was riding in failed to stop at a checkpoint.
From a federal Attorney General field report received this morning and El Debate newspaper accounts:
April 3, Culiacán: An investigator of the state police (Policía Ministerial del Estado) is gunned down in Culiacán.
April 14, Culiacán: A second PME investigator is murdered.
April 28, Culiacán: A third investigator is found dead, wrapped in a black plastic bag.
April 30, Culiacán: Two more PME officers are shot and killed.
May 5, Mazatlán: A sixth PME investigator is murdered.
May 5, Culiacán: A high level official, director of investigations for the PME, is gunned down.
May 6, Culiacán: State officials admit that several PME officers have resigned because of the targeted executions. They give no number, however the source I spoke with says at least seven officers left.
That’s just cops. Two other men were found murdered yesterday in Culiacán, along with a third dead in a birreria. A fourth was found decapitated in Navolato, homebase of the Juárez Cartel.
Last week, a firefight between two rivals erupted just outside the state capital.
PAN officials are attacking the PRI power structure, saying the narcos have declared full-scale war on the government.
Tags: Organized Crime , Journalism , Cartels , Mexico , Border
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