Monday, October 27, 2008

High-ranking Mexican officials detained; they were working for the Beltrán Leyva cartel

Arrests within the Mexican Assistant Attorney General's Office on Organized Crime are only the latest; Drug traffickers may also have informants in Interpol and the US Embassy

by Agencias and La Jornada On Line
translation and notes by Kristin Bricker

Mexico City - The Federal Attorney General's office (PGR in its Spanish initials) announced the detention of two high-ranking officials from the Assistant Attorney General's Office for the Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SIEDO in its Spanish initials) for alleged connections with with the Beltrán Leyva brothers' criminal organization, which paid them up to USD$400,000 monthly.

The head of SIEDO, Marisela Morales Ibáñez, stated that Fernando Rivera Hernández was handed over to the Federal Prosecutor's Office. Rivera Hernández acted as deputy director of Intelligence in SIEDO's Technical Coordinating Body.

Rivera Hernández is accused of receiving "large sums of money" on behalf of the Beltrán Leyva brothers. On August 4 he was held for 40 days under pre-trail detention following a deposition from a protected witness. He was then held for an additional 30 days.

Morales Ibáñez said that on October 10 criminal proceedings were initiated against Fernando Rivera for crimes related to organized crime and against the public health,* in the category of conspiracy to encourage the possibility of committing those crimes. The 9th Criminal Court in Jalisco issued an arrest warrant for him on October 11. A few days later he was indicted and formally imprisoned.

Miguel Colorado González, SIEDO's technical coordinator, was also targeted by the criminal proceedings. Both were providing information about operations that the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI in its Spanish initials) would carry out against drug trafficking, stated Morales Ibáñez in the press conference.

Both ex-officials are being detained in the Puente Grande maximum security prison in Jalisco, where Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, aka El Mochomo, is also being held. Alfredo Beltrán is one of the leaders of the cartel that Arturo Beltrán runs. Arturo Beltrán is currently at large.

Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora stated that between July and now, 35 Mexican Prosecutor's Office agents have been detained for receiving bribes of between $150,00 and $450,000 USD monthly, according to his data.

The process of purging and investigating personnel will continue, said Medina Mora. Likewise, the assistant attorney general said that the investigations against SIEDO agents began in 2004, "as a result of thwarted operations and a formal deposition that stated that there were public servants who were passing information to the Sinaloa cartel."

The arrests of more public servants from this institution are expected. The arrests began this past July. The public servants belong to a wide network of corruption within the SIEDO. The investigations have not concluded, said Morales.

It was unofficially said that the government will investigate a series of statements which indicate that drug traffickers have informants in Interpol and the United States Embassy in Mexico.

Notes:
* Mexico has a highly controversial track for crimes related to organized crime. This track is different from the standard criminal track: organized crime suspects have fewer rights, can be held incomunicado for longer periods of time, and face longer prison sentences. Crimes against public health also fall under the organized crime rubric.
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