EPR guerillas behind Mexico City police lynching?

From El Universal, Nov. 10 via Chiapas95:

One of the most horrific crimes in recent Mexico City history – the 2004 beating and burning to death of two federal police officers by a mob of residents in the Tlahuac district – may have been planned by the People’s Revolutionary Army guerrilla group, the top Federal District law enforcement official said Thursday.

Joel Ortega, the capital’s secretary of public security, also said he wasn’t ruling out the possibility that the Guerrero-based armed organization, usually called the EPR, was involved in other major unsolved crimes, during a wide-ranging interview with El Universal TV and Proyecto 40 on Thursday.

Ortega said federal prosecutors should be targeting the EPR for the murders of PFP agents in Tlahuac since the victims were investigating the guerrilla group’s presence in Mexico City.

“It is fully documented that Tlahuac was an orchestrated attack to eliminate the PFP officers who were tailing some EPR operatives,” he said. “There is some pretty strong photographic evidence of this. Unfortunately, the PFP agents were caught with their guard down.”

Among the other crimes Ortega cited was the so-called “crime of the century,” an audacious heist in early October where thieves made off with an estimated 231 million pesos after boring a hole into a Banamex branch in Tecamachalco, a tiny affluent community just outside the city limits in the State of Mexico.

Another case where EPR involvement should be looked at, according to Ortega, is the Oct. 22 explosion in a shopping center along Lomas Verdes Boulevard, which like Tecamachalco is in the municipality of Naucalpan. The Sunday blast, which injured no one, has been officially blamed on accumulated gas.

Ortega also mentioned two recent robberies of armored vehicles in the same week.

“Obviously, someone needs a lot of money and I don’t think we are talking about a criminal gang,” he said. “This is obviously something bigger, especially if we start to consider the robbery in Tecamachalco and the possible links to the explosion in Naucalpan.”

The EPR burst on the scene in 1996 in the Guerrero town of Aguas Blancas, where a government massacre of campesinos had taken place a year earlier. Their actions have been sporadic and mostly localized in Guerrero and Oaxaca.

But city and federal officials are looking closely at the EPR in their investigation of the bombings early last Monday in three locations in the capital. In a joint communique’, five other armed groups claimed credit for the blasts, which caused no injuries but damaged sections of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) headquarters, the federal Electoral Tribunal site and a bank.

The Tlahuac lynchings stunned the nation because they took place on live television. The media coverage continued for more than an hour before city police came onto the scene, a delay that cost then-Public Security Secretary Marcelo Ebrard his job.

Ebrard, who was replaced by Ortega, moved over to social development secretary and then went on to win the Mexico City mayor’s race on July 2.

See our last posts on Mexico and the resurgent guerilla movement.