EspañolProsecutors are investigating 18 police from the northeastern Mexican city of San Fernando for their role in the killing of over 200 migrants, mostly from Central America, according to a newly released report obtained by the National Security Archive.
The declassified memo from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office contains testimony given by arrested members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, who allege that local police collaborated in the kidnap and murder of perhaps as many as 242 migrants, whose bodies were found in mass graves in 2011 and 2012.
Inside the report, a detained gang member told authorities that the local police helped in the “intercepting of people” and worked as look outs, even accepting payment, while turning a blind eye to criminal activities committed by the cartel, which is traffics drugs and people throughout the region.
In a fight for control of human trafficking networks with the rival Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas appear to have carried out mass kidnappings of migrants trying to cross the US border in order to recruit them as drug mules, according to investigating officials. Those that refused to cooperate were killed.
The report specifically details the killing of 72 migrants in San Fernando in August of 2010, the finding of 193 bodies in unmarked graves nearby between April and May 2011, and the discovery of 49 human torsos in Cadereyta, in the neighboring state of Nuevo León, in May 2012.
The Foundation for Justice and the Democratic Rule of Law, a group supporting relatives of the victims of gang-related violence in San Fernando, denounced the alleged participation of local police in the murders.
Ana Lorena Delgadillo, the group’s director, told press that the released memo confirms “the degree of participation by the police.”
“This is a very important step toward finding the truth,” said Delgadillo, although she lamented that the document gave little more information than than that 18 local officers were under investigation.
The case is similar to that of 43 students who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero State, in September. According to the disputed version of events issued by the Mexican government, the attendees of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college were abducted by local police linked to traffickers. They were then given to members of the criminal organization Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors), who are then said to have killed them, burning their bodies and disposing of the remains in a river.
The abduction and presumed killing of the students resulted in a wave of violent protests across Mexico against police and government corruption and impunity, and their alleged connection to drug traffickers.
Since 2007, over 70,000 people have been killed in Mexico, mostly as a result of gang-related violence.