Mexico rights agency probes death of 22 in clash

September 24, 2014

09/23/14 The Washington Post 

gun - crime sceneMexico’s governmental human rights agency said Tuesday it is investigating the deaths of 22 people in a clash with the army that one witness has described as a massacre. The National Human Rights Commission expects to conclude its report on the incident in about six weeks. The agency is examining various aspects including reconstructing how the victims died, commission president Raul Plascencia said. The Mexican army reported on June 30 that 22 presumed criminals had been killed and one soldier wounded in what it described as a shootout after suspects attacked soldiers first. That version was cast under doubt due to the lopsided death toll and physical evidence at the scene suggesting at least some of those killed had been standing against a wall and shot around chest level.

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Mexico Pres: Army Killing of 22 to Get Full Probe

September 23, 2014

09/22/14 ABC News

crime sceneMexico President Enrique Pena Nieto said Monday that all questions about an army killing of 22 people that a witness said was a massacre will be answered by an attorney general’s investigation. “The attorney general is digging into the investigation and will be the agency responding to this issue,” Pena Nieto told The Associated Press after participating in an economic forum. He is in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

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Mexico agrees to investigate mass killing by army

September 22, 2014

09/21/14  Los Angeles Times

Army detentions MichoacanShortly after the Mexican army killed 22 people in what it described as a fierce gun battle with an armed gang, the governor of the state where the incident occurred praised the military for its actions. The army has courageously and tirelessly protected citizens from ruthless criminals, Gov. Eruviel Avila of the State of Mexico said in a public ceremony, thanking the military for the operation. But in the weeks since the June 30 killings, mounting evidence has raised numerous questions about the army’s version of events.

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A Quandary for Mexico as Vigilantes Rise

January 16, 2014

Mexican Army DetentionsThe New York Times, 01/15/2014

Word spread quickly: The army was coming to disarm the vigilante fighters whom residents viewed as conquering heroes after they swept in and drove out a drug gang that had stolen property, extorted money and threatened to kill them. They even had to leave flowers and other offerings at a shrine to the gang’s messianic leader.

Farmers locked arms with vigilantes to block the dusty two-lane road leading here. The soldiers demanded to be let in; people begged them to leave. Tempers flared, and rocks were thrown. The soldiers fired into the air, and then, residents said, into a crowd. At least two people were killed on Tuesday, officials and residents said.

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In Mexico, self defense groups battle a cartel

September 10, 2013

The Washington Post, 9/10/2013
m16 gun closeup

An audacious band of citizen militias battling a brutal drug cartel in the hills of central Mexico is becoming increasingly well-armed and coordinated in an attempt to end years of violence, extortion and humiliation.

What began as a few scattered self-defense groups has spread in recent months to dozens of towns across Michoacan, a volatile state gripped by the cultlike Knights Templar, a drug gang known for taxing locals on everything from cows to tortillas and executing those who do not comply.

The army deployed to the area in May, but the soldiers are mostly manning checkpoints. Instead, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is facing the awkward fact that a group of scrappy locals appears to be chasing the gangsters away, something that federal security forces have not managed in a decade.

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Mexican judge orders release of 5 high-ranking army officials accused of aiding a drug cartel

July 8, 2013

justice - gavel and bookAssociated Press, 7/4/2013

A Mexican judge on Thursday ordered the release of five high-ranking army officials accused of aiding a drug cartel after federal prosecutors dropped organized crime charges against them citing a lack of evidence. It’s the latest drug trafficking case against military officers started during former President Felipe Calderon’s administration to fall apart.

Judge Raul Valerio Ramirez said he ordered the immediate release of Gen. Roberto Dawe, Gen. Ricardo Escorcia, Gen. Ruben Perez, Lt. Col Silvio Hernandez and Maj. Ivan Reyna from a maximum security prison in Mexico state where they have been held since their arrest last year. The officers were charged with protecting members of the Beltran Leyva cartel. Federal anti-drug prosecutor Rodrigo Archundia Barrientos dropped charges in the case after concluding that witness testimony was not enough to sustain the case, Valerio Ramirez said in a statement.

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Mexico Soldiers Free 165 Kidnapped Migrants

June 7, 2013

soldiersThe Wall Street Journal, 6/6/2013

Mexican soldiers stormed a residence near the U.S. border and rescued 165 migrants, mostly Central Americans, who had been kidnapped by criminal gangs and held for ransom for up to three weeks, a Mexican official said Thursday. The rescue occurred Tuesday in the northern town of Díaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas—near McAllen, Texas—after authorities received an anonymous tip that armed men had been seen guarding a house in the town, said Eduardo Sánchez, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, which coordinates public security. Mr. Sánchez said soldiers detained one gunman, who ran inside the safe house on seeing the arrival of the army. Authorities didn’t offer any details on who might be behind the mass kidnapping.

The state of Tamaulipas where the migrants were held is home to drug cartels and organized-crime groups, including the Zetas group that authorities blamed for massacring 72 migrants from Central and South America in 2010 after they refused to work for the gang, which in addition to running drugs is involved in kidnapping and extortion. U.S. and Mexican officials say the criminal gangs often work with corrupt authorities, discouraging citizen complaints against the houses. There have been reports in Mexican media of criminal gangs brutally executing citizens suspected of providing such tips.

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