Mexican Police Kidnap Victims for Cartel; Government Apologizes

Miguel Moreno
By Miguel Moreno
March 7, 2019USshare
Mexican Police Kidnap Victims for Cartel; Government Apologizes
Forensic personnel of the Mexican Attorney General work in the exhumation of human remains found during the activities of the fourth National Search Brigade, in Huitzuco de los Figueroa, Guerrero state, Mexico, on Jan. 21, 2019. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

The Mexican government apologized to the families of five innocent youths on Mar. 3, after the five were kidnapped by corrupt police officers. All five were given to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which killed and incinerated the victims thereafter.

According to Mexican association Alto Al Secuestro (Stop Kidnapping), 2019 met with a spike in kidnappings: a 49% percent increase from Dec. 2018 to Jan. 2019, and a total of 190 kidnappings in January alone (pdf). Mexico has been plagued by cartels increasing murder rates, drug and human trafficking, corruption of peacekeepers, and ultimately pouring its poison into neighboring nations.

Among the five kidnapped in 2016 were four males, 24 to 27 years old, and one 16-year-old girl. Three years later, the Veracruz governor Cuitláhuac Garcia took responsibility for the collusion between law enforcement and the cartel, and offered an apology to the victims’ families. But they are looking for more than an apology.

“The only thing we ask for is justice,” said Gloria de la O, the mother of Jose Benitez: one of the five victims who was turned over to the cartel. She, alongside other families, asked that the 21 suspects, which include eight police officers, be rightly sentenced for their crimes.

16-year-old victim Susana Tapia.
16-year-old Susana Tapia, one of the kidnapped victims. (Roberto Ramirez/Geraldine Downer/Reuters)

Governor Retracts False Accusations

Initially, officials accused the five of having ties with a gang after their disappearance in 2016 and dismissed the case. But now the governor has declared their innocence.

“May this be clear; Bernardo, Jose, Susana, Jose Alfredo, and Mario Arturo were innocent,” said Garcia. “And never should they have lived through what they did.”

At the time of the kidnapping, former Veracruz governor Javier Duarte was in office, who is now serving a 9-year sentence in prison for criminal association and laundering money, according to BBC World. A report by the Congressional Research Center (pdf) states that public officials and law enforcement accused of colluding with criminal organizations are rarely convicted.

In 2014, a mass kidnapping of 43 male students occurred in Iguala, Guerrero. Like the kidnapping in Veracruz, officials also admitted that police officers detained the students and handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos Cartel, according to the BBC. The government report reads that the bodies were burned, but conflicting evidence points at a hampered investigation.

 Jalisco New Generation Cartel

The cartel that kidnapped the five Veracruz victims (CJNG), is one of the fastest-growing cartels and is based in the state of Jalisco. According to an article by Epoch Times reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson, the cartel owns drug distribution hubs in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago—manufacturing large amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.

“The cartels remain at the heart of the problem here in the United States,” said Texas Sheriff Andy Louderback in an interview with Cuthbertson. “They’re very powerful, very powerful, in this country.”

Criminal organizations have vandalized the sovereignty of both Mexico and the United States. American and Mexican officials, President Donald Trump, and the victims of cartel crimes have been working to expose these dark and barbaric human rights violations.

Thirteen presumed CJNG members have been arrested along with the eight police officers. So far, none of the 21 suspects have been charged for the kidnapping and murder of the five Veracruz victims.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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