Whole 20-man police force quits in north Mexico town after attack by gunmen kill 3 officers

Washington Post, 8/4/11

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — An entire 20-man police force resigned in a northern Mexican town after a series of attacks that killed the police chief and five officers over the last three months, state officials said Thursday.

The officers’ resignation Thursday left the 13,000 people of Ascension without local police services, Chihuahua state chief prosecutor Carlos Manuel Salas said. State and federal police have moved in to take over police work, he said.

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Federal police to withdraw from Ciudad Juarez

Associated Press, 7/26/11

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Thousands of federal police officers sent to help patrol the border city of Ciudad Juarez will start leaving in September, the violence-wracked city’s mayor said Tuesday.

Mayor Hector Murguia told the press in a statement that the decision to withdraw 5,000 federal agents was made by federal officials who say the city is under control. Federal police took over the city in April 2010 after soldiers were withdrawn amid abuse of power accusations.

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Gunmen ambush and kill eight Mexican police officers

BBC News, 10/12/2010

Suspected drug gang hitmen have ambushed a police convoy in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, killing eight officers. The gunmen, travelling in three or four vehicles, “began shooting with automatic weapons”, an official said.

The state is home to one of the country’s most powerful drug gangs, the Sinaloa cartel run by Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.

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Surprise Ending at Mexico City Cime Scene

police mexico scazonLos Angeles Times, 10/14/09

The first gunshot drew me racing to the window. The second sent me ducking to the floor.

A crime scene was unfolding below my second-floor apartment, and it took a few moments to make sense of its moving parts: the two burly men sprinting toward a taxi; the red-and-white cab trying to maneuver out of traffic; a uniformed bank guard pointing his revolver; the second pop of gunfire.

No one was hurt. But the taxi, trapped in lunch-hour traffic, was surrounded as the guard and two police officers approached slowly on foot, guns drawn. Sidewalk gawkers froze. The taxi driver thrust his hands out the window in surrender. His two beefy passengers also gave up at the sight of more police hurrying from a substation down the block.

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Mexican Police Fleeing Cartels Find U.S. reluctant to Grant Asylum

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008Los Angeles Times, 6/15/2009

As drug violence has worsened in Mexico, businesspeople, journalists and other professionals have been seeking refuge in the U.S. But few have as much at stake as law enforcement figures who defy the cartels.

No statistics are available on how many police officers have sought asylum in this country, but government sources and immigration attorneys suggest the number is increasing.

That is no surprise, because Mexican police have been “left out in the cold by the very institution they sought to protect,” said Bruce J. Einhorn, a retired immigration judge in Los Angeles who directs an asylum clinic at Pepperdine University School of Law.

Police officers seeking refuge in this country face an uncertain future. If their asylum applications are rejected, they can be deported to Mexico, to face near-certain retaliation from the cartels. To avoid such a fate, they can try to strike a deal with U.S. authorities to provide information about drug trafficking in Mexico. Or they can try to remain in this country illegally.

Their plight poses a quandary for U.S. officials, who are seeking to bolster honest Mexican police to curb the influence of the cartels.

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7 police officers die in Tijuana attacks

Los Angeles Times, 4/29/2009

Heavily armed gunmen staged a series of surprise attacks against municipal police forces in this tense border city, killing seven and wounding three in brazen assaults that shattered a four-month period of relative calm. Six police officers and an auxiliary officer died within a 45-minute span late Monday in ambushes at a hillside substation, on busy streets and outside an OXXO mini-mart, where four were killed in a hail of bullets, including one who tried to fight back.

Municipal police officers across Mexico have become frequent targets of organized crime groups vying to control drug-trafficking routes. More than 500 police officers and soldiers have been killed in Mexico since December 2006.

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A Cause Célèbre Clouds Mexican Sentiment on Kidnapping Scourge

The New York Times, 4/8/2009

Three years ago, morning news programs here broadcast the arrest of a Frenchwoman and her Mexican boyfriend in a police raid that rescued three kidnapping victims from the ranch the couple shared.

The woman, Florence Cassez, was convicted of kidnapping and other crimes and was eventually sentenced to 60 years in jail. Case closed, it would seem.

But through it all, Ms. Cassez, 34, has maintained her innocence. Her boyfriend, Israel Vallarta, who confessed, said she knew nothing. And the television images of police officers storming the ranch? The raid turned out to have been staged the day after the couple was arrested and the hostages released.

“In a general climate of impunity, society becomes very conservative,” said Guillermo Zepeda, a security expert at the Center of Research for Development, a Mexico City policy group. “They want the few cases that are resolved to be exemplary.”

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Mexican town fed up with violence turns to army

Los Angeles Times, 2/26/2009

Villanueva
Villanueva

The people of Villanueva said they’d had enough. Men in cowboy hats, women with hand-scrawled signs, children on bikes — they gathered outside town and blocked the main interstate highway.

“If you can’t do it, quit!” they told their police force. They demanded that the army take over. The army rolled into this town in Zacatecas state last month and ordered the police to stand down and surrender their weapons. They did.

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U.S. anti-drug information leaked to Mexico cartels

Reuters, 1/15/2009

Corrupt officials inside Mexico’s security forces have leaked U.S. anti-drugs intelligence directly to drug traffickers to help them escape raids, a senior U.S. law enforcement agent said. A recent anti-corruption sweep showed the infiltration of Mexican police forces had reached alarming levels, with several high-ranking investigators and a presidential guardsman arrested for selling information to drug cartels.

The U.S. agent said the arrests were an encouraging sign that Mexico’s government is serious about stopping drug gangs from getting their hands on intelligence, some of which comes from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA.

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