Mexican military to take over Juárez police?

Ciudad Juárez Public Safety Director Guillermo Prieto submitted his resignation following a string of killings that included some of his top officers. AP May 18 cites a city spokesman saying Prieto would be replaced by a military officer on leave from the armed forces. The local El Diario cites Mayor José Reyes Ferriz saying the new police chief will be a retired military officer. Neither source named the new appointee.

Local media also reported a series of killings over the weekend, including an attack by gunmen in the town of Ahumada, about 70 miles south of Juárez, and a shooting at a nightclub involving assault rifles.

As Juárez police chief, Prieto served during a period in which drug cartels grew increasingly bold, openly advertising for drug couriers, shooting it out with rivals in the streets and issuing a hit list threatening 22 top city police officials. Of those 22, seven have been killed, three more have been wounded in assassination attempts and the remainder, save one, have left their posts.

See our last post on Mexico’s narco crisis.

  1. More details on Ahumada massacre
    James McKinley writes for the New York Times, May 31:

    Drug Massacre Leaves a Mexican Town Terrorized
    VILLA AHUMADA, Mexico — A massacre here two weeks ago has turned this once sleepy town into a ghostly emblem of the drug violence that has swept Mexico over the last year and a half, gutting local police forces, terrifying citizens and making it almost impossible for the authorities to assert themselves.

    On the night of May 17, dozens of men with assault rifles rolled into town in several trucks and shot up the place. They killed the police chief, two officers and three civilians. Then they carried off about 10 people, witnesses said. Only one has been found, dead and wrapped in a carpet in Ciudad Juárez.

    The entire municipal police force quit after the attack, and officials fled the town for several days, leaving so hastily that they did not release the petty criminals held in the town lockup. The state and federal governments sent in 300 troops and 16 state police officers, restoring an uneasy semblance of order. But townspeople remain terrified.