Mexico: civilian dies in latest “drug war” mistake

Mexican marines shot and killed Gustavo Acosta Luján in the early morning of Sept. 1 in his home in Jardines de San Andrés, Apodaca municipality, in the northern state of Nuevo León. According to the Secretariat of the Navy, the marines, responding to an anonymous tip, were fired on from inside the house, and Gustavo Acosta, an “alleged criminal” with the alias “M-3,” died in the operation. The marines said they found a 9 mm submachine gun, an AR-15 rifle and quantities of cocaine in the house. Mexican president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has been using soldiers for police work in northern Mexico since militarizing the “war on drugs” shortly after he took office in December 2006.

The Acosta family said the marines came to their home while they were asleep, fired on the house and demanded that they open the door. The marines shot Gustavo Acosta when he came to the door, according to the Acostas, and they threw his brother Daniel Acosta to the floor, hooding him and placing a gun in his hands. The entire family was taken outside, including a nine-year-old child; the authorities stayed in control of the house until 7 AM, and the family says the marines took computers and cell phones. Gustavo’s mother was hospitalized with an attack of high blood pressure.

The family and the Citizens in Support of Human Rights Civic Association (CADHAC) indicated that the marines raided the Acosta home in error. At some point in the operation, the marines also arrested Osnoel Rolando Peña Serna AKA “Mascarita” four doors away from the Acosta home. He had been living in a rented house which had no furniture and was described as “like a safe house.” The Acosta family said they planned to file a complaint with the Public Ministry and the federal government’s National Human Rights Commision (CNDH). (La Jornada, Mexico, Sept. 3)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 4.

See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.