Bullets Fly in Palomas Despite Police Presence
Five more people have been gunned down in Palomas, the Mexico town bordering Columbus, New Mexico. News coming out of Palomas is sketchy, but New Mexico Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos confirmed that father and son Arnoldo Carreon Renteria, 57, and Arnoldo Carreon, 25, were shot and killed at 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 9.
On Sunday, Leonel Martinez Chacon, 30; Garbriel Martinez Chacon, 28; Armando Carreon Caraveo, 41; Luis Carreon Caraveo, 39; and Eduardo Saldivar Porras, 25, were killed. The Carreon Caraveos are related to Friday’s victim, Arnoldo Carreon Renteria.
The killings took place despite increased law enforcement presence. Last month Palomas’ mayor proclaimed Palomas was safe and urged tourists to return to the beleagured town. “Everything is fine,” he said in April. “Because the Mexican army is here. When they came, the people who were involved in the drug cartel disappeared from Palomas.”
The proclamation, it appears, was premature, as these shootings have all the earmarks of oganized crime hits. Arnoldo Carreon Renteria is the older brother of Epifanio Carreon who was among several killed by gunfire a year ago. It appears 20 to 40 people have been killed in Palomas in the past year.
Palomas priest Padre Abel Retano lays the blame for the violence on widespread corruption in the country’s police force. In a recent sermon he asked how tons of drugs pass every week through the Palomas border crossing, getting through the military checkpoints south of town. Also how 90 percent of the firearms come from Arizona, Texas and California, when it is illegal to import arms and to own them.
The city is suffering a substantial loss of business because of the violence. People from Deming (a New Mexico city about 30 miles north of Palomas) no longer come to Palomas for ther quinceñeras, baptisms, funerals and weddings, he told parishioners.
In regional violence, last Thursday night, two were killed on Avenida Juárez, a popular tourist strip in Ciudad Juárez, a border town across the Rio Grande from El Paso.
Tags: Mexico Violence , Mexico US Relations , Palomas , Drug Violence , Border Towns
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