Juarez’ Secret Police

There are a couple of interesting stories on the intertubes today about former police chief Julián Leyzaola’s secret police unit, Los Jaguares.

They are being accused of making extra-judicial renditions and turning those they kidnapped over to Mexican government agencies and, in at least one incident, the United States DEA.

Diario reports that the special police unit drove a dark blue Suburban and a dark blue double cab pickup truck without identifying numbers or license plates. The report doesn’t say it, but in my mind’s eye I picture the trucks with heavily tinted windows, pulling up to a squalid residence in the dark of night and dragging a suspect out of bed with enough violence to ensure compliance and maybe a little bit more. From El Diario

That happened, for example, to Manuel Gerardo Velasquez Mascorro, a Mexican-American who faces a federal trial before a court in the United States and who was arrested by the “Jags” and delivered to staff of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency without following legal protocols.

At first, said his lawyer, Federico Solano Jurado, Velasquez Mascorro requested that the case not made known to the press, as his parents were also arrested.

La Polaka says that former Chief of Police Leyzeola and former Juarez Mayor Teto Murguia will be hit with a lawsuit in U.S. courts for their extrajudicial activity.

The lawsuit is filed by the family of Manuel Velazquez Mascorro. Velazquez was kidnapped by the Leyzaola’s group The Jaguars last August to be handed over to the DEA as part of a secret negotiation between officials from both sides of the border. Velazquez Mascorro is imprisoned in Sierra Blanca on drug charges and 12 more offenses which have not been proven, after being abducted from his home in Ciudad Juarez and transported surreptitiously to El Paso in the American Consulate official vans.

This situation highlights the lack of the rule of law in Mexico. Even positive outcomes, like the reduction of crime in Juarez, can be attributed to extra-legal proceedings, endorsed, and maybe even initiated by the U.S. government. Until Mexico adopts a system ruled by laws, enforcement will be arbitrary and uneven, and those who suffer will be everyone without resources, which in Mexico is almost everyone.

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