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12 state police officers charged after 19 bodies found near Mexico-U.S. border

A dozen state law enforcement officials have been arrested for allegedly killing 19 folks, together with Guatemalan migrants, whose our bodies had been discovered shot and burned close to the U.S. border late in January, Mexican authorities introduced Tuesday. Tamaulipas state Lawyer Normal Irving Barrios Mojica mentioned all 12 officers had been in custody and face fees of murder, abuse of authority and making false statements.

The killings revived reminiscences of the ugly 2010 bloodbath of 72 migrants close to the city of San Fernando in the identical gang-ridden state. However these killings had been achieved by a drug cartel, whereas it’s possible many individuals will discover it extra stunning that the Jan. 22 slayings allegedly had been carried out by regulation enforcement.

“Within the aforementioned acts of Jan. 22, a minimum of 12 state law enforcement officials participated,” Barrios Mojica mentioned.

The legal professional basic didn’t say what motive the officers may need had, although corrupt native and state police in Mexico are sometimes within the pay of drug cartels.

Cartels in Mexico usually cost migrant smugglers for crossing their territory, and kidnap or kill migrants whose smugglers haven’t paid or paid a rival gang.

The our bodies had been discovered piled in a charred pickup truck in Camargo, throughout the Rio Grande from Texas, in an space that has been bloodied for years by turf battles between the remnants of the Gulf cartel and the previous Zetas cartel.

Authorities have mentioned 4 of the useless have been recognized up to now – two Guatemalans and two Mexicans. Their names haven’t been launched by officers, however family of one of many useless Mexicans mentioned he labored as an immigrant trafficker.

Of the 19 our bodies examined by specialists, 16 had been discovered to be males, one was confirmed as feminine and the 2 others had been so badly burned their gender had not but been decided.

The forensic outcomes confirmed the fears of households in a rural Indigenous farming group in Guatemala who’ve mentioned they misplaced contact with 13 migrants as they travelled towards the US.

The truck holding the our bodies had 113 bullet impacts, however authorities had been confused by the truth that virtually no spent shell casings had been discovered on the scene.

Initially, that led investigators to invest the shootings could have taken place elsewhere, and the truck pushed to the spot the place it was set on hearth.

However Barrios Mojica mentioned the state law enforcement officials charged within the killings knew their shell casing would possibly give them away, so most likely picked them up.

“There may be rising pressure behind the speculation that the crime scene was altered, because of the absence of casings,” he mentioned.

In describing the hours that led as much as the killings, Barrios Mojica mentioned the truck carrying the victims was apparently half of a bigger convoy of automobiles transporting migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador to smuggle them throughout the U.S. border. He mentioned the vehicles additionally carried armed males to supply safety.

Barrios Mojica didn’t rule out that the explanation for the killings could have been a dispute between drug gangs, which struggle over territory and the appropriate to cost migrant smugglers for passing by means of “their” territory.

The bloodbath is the newest chapter in Tamaulipas’ historical past of police corruption. Most cities and cities within the state noticed their municipal police forces dissolved years in the past, as a result of officers had been usually within the pay of the cartels. A extra skilled state police pressure was speculated to be the reply, a perception that got here crashing down with the arrests introduced Tuesday.

A repeat of the 2010 bloodbath has lengthy been one of many Mexican authorities’s worst nightmares.

In August 2010, Zetas cartel members stopped two tractor-trailers carrying dozens of largely Central American migrants and took them to a ranch within the Tamaulipas city of San Fernando. After the migrants refused to work for the cartel, they had been blindfolded, tied up on the ground and shot useless.

In 2019, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned, “We don’t want a repeat of horrendous, regrettable acts like San Fernando.”

Family members of migrants from Guatemala’s province of San Marcos are so satisfied that 13 of the 19 charred corpses had been their family members that a few of the households already erected conventional altars to the useless, with flowers and pictures.

A few of the family in Guatemala informed of receiving calls from the migrant smuggler who took the group of 10 males and three feminine north, telling them their relations had been useless. Family members mentioned they misplaced contact with them round Jan. 21.

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