Thursday, August 12, 2010

Federal Police Riot in Ciudad Juarez Over Corruption

by Kristin Bricker

On August 8, Federal Police stationed in Ciudad Juarez (dubbed the "Murder Capital of the World") staged a thirteen-hour work stoppage to demand the dismissal of their superiors.  They claimed their superiors were corrupt: they plant drugs and weapons on suspects, they are members of organized crime, they use their government-issue armored vehicles (such as the ones donated by the US government under the Merida Initiative) to transport drugs, and they throw whistle-blowing officers in jail.  Discontent within the force reached a boiling point when commanding officers brought federal charges against an officer who filed a complaint against his superiors for abuse of authority, mistreatment, and death threats. 

In response to the arrest of the whistle-blower, approximately 400 agents blocked streets in Ciudad Juarez to demand his release.  Their action led to the dismissal of four commanding officers.  However, Federal Police Internal Affairs removed the rioting agents from duty and is investigating them for having "instigated attacks and protests."  The commanding officers, on the other hand, are not "under investigation," according to the Attorney General's Office.  They're simply being asked to give testimony about the protest in Juárez, not about the corruption charges.

More details are available in the following articles, some of which have been edited for length:

Federal Police Rebel Against Commanding Officers

El Heraldo de Chihuahua

Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua (OEM-Informex).- About 400 Federal Police rebelled over mistreatment by their superiors, and they hit the streets to shed light on all of the abuses, cheating, and shady dealings that superiors commit against agents, which include planting drugs and weapons on them in order to frame them, detain them, and charge them with crimes.


The situation heated up the day before, when agent Victor Manuel de Cid went to the  Federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) to file a complaint against superior officers Salomón Alarcón Romero, Joel Ortega, and  Ricardo Duque Chávez.  He accused them of abuse of authority, mistreatment, and death threats.

Twenty-four hours later, the "snitch" was brought before authorities from the PGR because they supposedly found a weapon and drugs on him.  The PGR says it detained him outside the Hotel La Playa, where about 1,200 Federal Police officers are staying.  However, his co-workers say they took him out of his room in handcuffs.


They claimed that a weapon and drugs were planted on their co-worker, and that before he was brought before the PGR, they beat and handcuffed him.

Federal Police Riot Wins Dismissal of Commanders
The Public Security Ministry Says That It Will Investigate Them for Corruption; Agents Accuse Them of Ties to Organized Crime

by Rubén Villalpando, La Jornada

The Public Security Ministry removed four "second-level" commanders from their duties in the Federal Police who participated in Operation Chihuahua after dozens of agents denounced various acts of corruption committed by their superiors.

The federal agency announced that the commanders were transferred to Mexico City to be investigated for illegal activities in the line of duty and, "if appropriate, hold them responsible."

The Federal Police's Internal Affairs Division is aware of the complaints and will determine if it will proceed with disciplinary measures against the four commanders.

Yesterday, about 400 Federal Police agents stationed in Juárez refused to work for 13 hours in order to demand the release of a co-worker, whom their superiors accuse of federal crimes, and to demand the dismissal of their commanders, whom they accuse of having ties to organized crime and sending the police to the streets to extort money from people.

Since 4 a.m. hundreds of agents, armed and in uniform, blocked López Mateos Ave. in front of the La Playa Hotel, where they are staying, and demanded the dismissal of their superiors Salomón Alarcón Romero, Joel Ortega, and  Ricardo Duque Chávez, who were holed up in rooms 105, 106, and 107 accompanied by 30 mid-level commanders who were trying to protect them.

Between yelling and gun-pointing, the agents burst into their commanders' room, removed Alarcón Olvera, and detained him while they protested.  "We went in and we found drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and weapons that they use to plant on innocent victims," said one.  There were also voodoo, black magic, and witchcraft symbols, they said.

The police exchanged harsh words, shoves, kicks, and beatings with the group that was defending the commanders.  The insubordinate police explained that Alarcón Olvera planted drugs on one of their co-workers, identified as José D'Cid, who was detained and charged with federal crimes for having filed a complaint against his commanding officer.

During the revolt, the rioters detained a man that attempted to flee out the back of the hotel by knocking out the bars on his window.  They found packages that appeared to be full of drugs in his possession.

This man identified himself in front of the media as Julián González, and he said that for the past two weeks he's been in charge of Commander Alarcón Olvera's security.  He said that he had gone out to look for a taxi for his boss.

Alarcón Olvera maintained that room 105, where the drugs were found, is not his room, and that "he who doesn't owe anything doesn't fear anything."  He commented that he considered the protesters' actions to be illegal.  The "subversive" group, he said, is comprised of approximately 25 agents and that they were protesting for the release of an agent who was detained for possessing marijuana.

The agents shouted chants and demanded the presence of the Federal Police Commissioner, Facundo Rosas Rosas.  A commission of commanders went to the La Playa to negotiate and reestablish order.

Afterwards, the protesters announced that a solution to the problem was reached which was "favorable to us, above all regarding the detention of an agent on whom they allegedly found drugs."  The lanes of López Mateos Ave. were re-opened to traffic.

"Our Commanders are Pure Trash"
One Appears on a List of Drug Cartel Employees, They Say

by Rubén Villalpando, La Jornada

Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, August 8.  Agents who participated in this past Saturday's riot made public that their immediate superior, Rodolfo Salomón Alarcón Romero aka El Chamán, lacks rank in the Federal Police and heads up the Juárez force despite the fact that his name appears in a "narcolist"* found by the military last year in Sinaloa.

El Chamán only arrived in Ciudad Juárez this past July, but he was already organizing noisy parties that lasted until dawn, with prostitutes and people who arrived in luxury vehicles.  He also had a King Ranch Special Edition pick-up truck that he parked in the entrance to the Hotel La Playa, said the agents.

"The commanders use the armored vehicles to store drugs that they plant on detainees."  Another commander, Joel Ortega Montenegro, appears in a list of commanders who are on the Sinaloa cartel's payroll, they claimed.

"Our superiors are pure trash.  They report a lot of arrests because they are in cahoots with the prosecutors in the Federal Attorney General's Office (PGR).  They capture innocent people and plant drugs on them so that those people pay them big bribes," they said just before the accused were brought to the airport in civilian clothing and transferred by plane to Mexico City amongst strong protests.

This Sunday a painting appeared that said that the man whose dismembered body was found in the Palacio de Mitla shopping mall is a federal police officer who collaborated with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

The agents who arrived on the scene confirmed that the victim was one of their co-workers, but the Assistant Attorney General's Office didn't mention this detail.  It only said that "they removed his hands, feet, head, legs, and arms, and they tossed them into the establishment."

This year, 78 police have already died in Ciudad Juárez, twenty of them were Federal Police.  That number is higher than the total number of police murdered in 2008 and 2009, according to official government statistics.

Translator's Note:
* "Narcolists" are often found in notebooks during government raids on drug cartels.  They supposedly contain the names and ranks of police officers, soldiers, and government officials who are on the cartel payrolls.

Rioting Federal Police Are Removed from Duty and Investigated

by Alejandro Páez, La Crónica de Hoy

Federal Police responsible for a row this past Saturday in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, have been removed from duty and put under investigation for being instigators of the attacks and protests against some of their commanders, whom they accuse of corruption, according to the head of the force's Internal Affairs Division, Marco Tulio López Escamilla.

In a press conference, the Public Security Ministry official explained that his department had already gathered evidence against this group of federal police, and that it would proceed against them if it is proven that they did not comply with department policy.

López Escamilla did not specify the number of agents who were under investigation, but he did say that the four commanders of the Federal Police's Third Contingent who were dismissed were handed over to the Federal Attorney General's Office this past Sunday for alleged corruption and abuse of authority.

The Public Security official said that the events and the subsequent dismissal of the commanders would not affect the operation that the Federal Police have implemented in Juárez since April 8.  He pointed out that 5,000 agents participate in the operation.

Likewise, he said that this year 500 complaints have been filed against the Federal Police in Mexico for alleged acts of corruption and irregularities, and that they are being investigated.

No Charges Brought Against Juárez Commanders
by Notimex

The Federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) has announced that the four Federal Police Commanders in Ciudad Juárez who were accused of corruption by two hundred agents are not being detained, nor have charges been filed against them.  They are just at the Public Security Ministry's disposition.

Mexico City, Mexico, August 11, 2010.- The Federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) has still not investigated the four Federal Police commanders who were fired in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, after being accused by their subordinates of alleged acts of corruption.

Sources within the agency said that Salomón Alarcón Romero, Joel Ortega Montenegro, Antelmo Casteñada Silva, and Ricardo Duque Chávez only made statements before an agent from the Federal Prosecutor's Office.

This occurred in Federal Police headquarters, located in Iztapalapa, where they gave details about the protest carried out by their subordinates this past Saturday in front of the Hotel La Playa in Ciudad Juárez.

In the PGR there is no preliminary investigation against the four commanders, due to the fact that they have not been turned over to the PGR as detainees nor as persons of interest.  Therefore they remain in the police headquarters in the custody of the federal Public Security Ministry [the Ministry that is responsible for the Federal Police].

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