Mexico: open season on police commanders
Juan Antonio Román García, second highest ranking police commander in Ciudad Juárez, was killed May 10 when his car was sprayed with bullets outside his home. The attack came months after his name appeared at the top of a hit list left at a monument for fallen police officers. Two days earlier, Edgar Guzmán, 22-year-old she son of presumed Sinaloa Cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was killed by a 40-man hit squad in Culiacán. Later that day, presumed Sinaloa Cartel gunmen murdered Edgar Eusebio Millán, a top commander of the Federal Preventive Police, at his home in Mexico City. Hours before Millán's funeral May 9, Esteban Robles, a senior Mexico City police detective, was gunned down in front of his apartment. Authorities say the Millán assassination was vengeance for the recent capture of Sinaloa Cartel kingin Alfredo "El Mochomo" Beltrán Leyva.
Two other senior police officers were shot in Mexico City in recent days, and hitmen killed Saul Peña, a top police officer in Ciudad Juárez. 2,500 people were killed in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and the 2008 total stands at 1,100. (AP, Reuters, Reuters Latin America, May 10; ASIC-La Jornada, EFE, May 9; El Universal, May 8)
Earlier this month, several placards appeared in public places in Sinaloa state with threats to police commanders, personally signed by kingpin Arturo Beltrán, El Mochomo's brother. One read: "I am going all-out. Let you know that, police-soldiers. So that it's clear. 'El Mochomo' is still there. Sincerely, Arturo Beltran." (M&C News, May 9) There is some confusion as to Mochomo's situation. On May 9, the state prosecutors office in Jalisco announced that Alfredo Beltrán had been killed at Occidente top-security prison (formerly Puente Grande). Federal prison authorities promptly denied the claim. (La Jornada, May 9) Narco-corridos extolling the Beltrán brother by such groups as Los Alegres del Barranco (the Happy Ones of the Canyon) can be seen on YouTube. (El Universal, May 10)
On May 10, President Felipe Calderón visited the violence-torn city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, where he declared "¡Ya basta!" (enough already!) to organized crime. He called the state's war on the cartels "a liberation struggle against slavery and domination that delinquency seeks to impose." (Cronica de Hoy, May 10)
See our last posts on Mexico and the narco wars.