Failing State Watch: Nuevo Laredo police chief gunned down

February 4, 2011

Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre came into office on New Year’s Day vowing to fight the corruption and criminal violence tearing his state apart. One of his first acts was to appoint retired general Manuel Farfán as police chief of Nuevo Laredo, just across the border from Laredo, Texas, and one of Mexico’s most violent cities.

Less than a month into his job, Chief Farfán was shot dead on the streets of his city:

Gunmen killed the recently appointed police chief of Nuevo Laredo late Wednesday in a brazen response to the new governor’s vow to restore order to the violent Mexican state bordering south Texas and the Rio Grande.

Manuel Farfán, 55, a retired army brigadier general, was shot down on a downtown street shortly before midnight. At least one of the general’s police bodyguards and his personal secretary also were killed.

Farfán was one of 11 retired army generals recently named to head municipal police departments across Tamaulipas state. He took office with the change of city and state governments on Jan. 1.

Upon taking office New Year’s Day, Tamaulipas Gov. Egidio Torre had vowed that his government would put an end to the state’s “cruel, unjust and difficult” wave of violence.

“The people of Tamaulipas want to trust again,” said Torre, who was elected following last June’s assassination by gangsters of his brother, the gubernatorial candidate of the state’s long ruling party.

“We are going to diminish violence at its root causes and extinguish impunity,” he said.

Aside from expressing condolences to Farfán’s survivors and dispatching the commander of the state police – also a retired army general – neither Torre nor other senior Tamaulipas officials commented on the assassination Thursday.

The killing is comment enough: one theory is that Chief Farfán refused to be bought or or play along with the Zeta cartel, whose “territory” Nuevo Laredo is, and they decided to show what happens. Another is that he was killed by the Gulf Cartel, which is at “war” with its former vassals and may have considered the Chief a threat to their efforts to take Nuevo Laredo back.

The killing of Chief Farfán is just the latest sign of the breakdown of the rule of law in Mexico, but he, at least, made it almost a month; in 2005, Nuevo Laredo Chief Dominguez was killed just hours after being appointed.  As the article mentions, the entire police force of one small town near Monterrey quit after two of its officers were beheaded, and the police chief of Cancún was tortured and killed in 2009 by one of his own men, who was in the pay of the local cartel. Local and state police officers are either intimidated, corrupted, or assassinated. As I’ve said before, when the State can’t even protect its own, words such as “sovereignty” and “rule of law” are meaningless.

It’s small wonder that some colleges are canceling their study-abroad programs in Mexico.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Advertisements

Mexico: lead investigator in Falcon lake murder beheaded

October 13, 2010

Well, this certainly sends a message. The lead Mexican investigator into the murder of David Hartley, presumably by Mexican lake pirates, was himself killed and his severed head delivered to the Mexican Army:

State police in Tamaulipas looking for David Hartley’s body are now investigating the murder of one of their own. Miguel Alemán State Police Commander Rolando Armando Flores Villegas’ head was delivered in a suitcase Tuesday to the military post in Miguel Alemán.

Officials quickly denied connection between Villegas’ apparent murder and Hartley’s disappearance.

If they aren’t connected, then it’s one helluva coincidence.

Ironically, Flores Villegas had himself questioned Tiffany Hartley’s account of her husband’s death, implying she herself might have had something to do with it. (A witness has since come forth, backing up her story) Now he’s dead, and Tiffany Hartley still cannot bury her husband. Mexican investigators promise to continue the search for David’s body and his killers, but they want Tiffany to come to Tamaulipas to file a report, guaranteeing her safety.

With cops literally losing their heads down there, I can’t imagine she puts much stock in those guarantees.

LINKS: More from Bryan Preston.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexico: four bodies found hanging from bridge

October 2, 2010

The nightmare continues in Mexico, this time in Tampico, the main city of violence -wracked state of Tamaulipas:

The bodies of three men and a woman were found Thursday hanging off a bridge in the Mexican Gulf coast city of Tampico, officials said.

The bodies were discovered around 5:30 a.m. in one of the city’s most important business and financial districts.

Soldiers and marines cordoned off the area and removed the bodies from the bridge.

Scenes like this have become common in recent years in Mexico, where drug cartels have used decapitations, massacres and other acts of violence in an attempt to strike fear into rivals and the government.

The northern border state of Tamaulipas, where Tampico is located, has become one of Mexico’s most violent states due to the war between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas for control of turf and smuggling routes into the United States.

Imagine seeing that on your morning commute to work.