Mexico: police arrested as mass graves unearthed in Tamaulipas

The Mexican state of Tamaulipas has dismissed its security chief while federal police arrested 16 municipal police officers in the town of San Fernando following the discovery of more than 145 bodies in mass graves over the past weeks. Former army general Ubaldo Ayala Tinoco has been replaced as Tamaulipas public security secretary by another ex-military man, Capt Rafael Lomelí Martínez, who pledges to bring all those involved in the mass killings to justice. In addition to the police, some 20 have already been arrested in connection with the killings. Most of the victims are believed to have been abducted from long-distance buses travelling north to the US border; there is speculation they were killed by cartel gunmen after refusing to join their ranks. The bodies of 72 Central and South American migrants were found in the same area last year. On April 16, the Mexican navy announced the capture of Omar Martin Estrada Luna AKA “El Kilo”—suspected leader of Los Zetas in San Fernando and alleged mastermind of the recent killings. Federal authorities say he will likely be charged in last year’s killings as well—for a total of 217 homicides. (BBC News, Hoy Tamaulipas, La Prensa, April 17; LAT, April 14)

See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.

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