Category Archives: Crime

As killings mount, can Mexico save its journalists?

More than 100 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, rights groups say. (AFP)
More than 100 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, rights groups say. (AFP)

By Hugo Bachega / BBC News

One was killed while resting in a hammock at a carwash. A second was dragged from his car and shot dead near the newspaper he had co-founded. When another was killed in front of her son, the criminals left a note: “For your long tongue”.

Journalists are being murdered in Mexico and this is nothing new. This is one of the most dangerous countries for reporters, rights groups say, and more die here than in any other nation at peace.

But even for a place so used to drugs-related violence and organised crime, the recent bloodshed has been shocking.

Seven journalists have been killed in the country so far this year, most shot by gunmen in broad daylight. Yet virtually all cases of attacks on the press end up unsolved and, in many, corrupt officials are suspected of partnering with criminals.

As the killings mount, is there anything that Mexico can do to save its journalists?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39436568

9 dead in shootings involving fuel thieves

AP – Nine people were killed in central Mexico in a series of shootings involving disputes between suspected fuel thieves. It was the latest round of violence in an area east of Mexico City where theives who siphon fuel out of state-run pipelines have fought police, the army and each other.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/9-dead-in-shootings-involving-fuel-thieves-in-mexico/2017/07/04/432dc05e-60b3-11e7-80a2-8c226031ac3f_story.html?utm_term=.9c306271aeaf

Mapping Mexico’s hidden graves

Science – More than 30,000 people have disappeared without a trace in Mexico. Police investigations rarely solve such crimes, so many families are left to search on their own for the hidden graves that might hold their relatives. Last week, a team of data scientists and human rights researchers released a new tool for the searchers: a map predicting which municipalities in Mexico are most likely to house hidden graves.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/mapping-mexico-s-hidden-graves

Mexico’s murder rate reaches 20-year high

Police outside a house where were six people – including a four-month-old baby – were killed in San Pedro Cacahuatepec near Acapulco. (Francisco Robles/AFP/Getty Images)
Police outside a house where were six people – including a four-month-old baby – were killed in San Pedro Cacahuatepec near Acapulco. (Francisco Robles/AFP/Getty Images)

The Guardian

Mexico marked another murderous milestone in its conflict with organised crime as the monthly homicide rate hit its highest level in 20 years.

Government statistics showed that 2,186 murders were committed in May, surpassing the previous monthly high of 2,131 in May 2011, according to a review of records that date back to 1997.

Mexico recorded 9,916 murders in the first five months of 2017, roughly a 30% increase over the same period last year.

The situation has hit such calamitous levels in states such as Guerrero, to south of Mexico City – where armed groups are fighting for control of the heroin industry – that morgues there have been unable to handle the dead bodies.

Analysts say the surging violence stems from various factors, including the increased cultivation of heroin to meet US demand and the legalisation of marijuana in some US states, which has caused cartel profits to plummet and prompted criminal groups to diversify into crimes such as kidnap and extortion.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/21/mexicos-monthly-rate-reaches-20-year-high

TJ police chief links rising homicides to U.S. guns

KPBS – Tijuana’s police chief said the U.S. should take responsibility for its role in Mexico’s rising violence, which he links to U.S. gun smuggling and lax gun laws. U.S. statistics show 70 percent of weapons seized at crime scenes in Mexico were traced to the U.S., particularly to the border states of California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2017/jun/19/tijuana-police-rising-homicides-us-gun-laws/

Ex-Quintana Roo governor arrested in Panama

Reuters – A former state governor for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had been arrested in Panama. Roberto Borge, 37, who was governor of the state of Quintana Roo until last year, was detained in Panama City airport as he was preparing to board a flight to Paris.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-06-05/mexico-says-arrests-former-governor-accused-of-corruption

7 gas stations closed for selling stolen fuel

AP – Mexico closed seven service stations for allegedly selling gasoline and diesel stolen from state-run pipelines, the first confirmation that large amounts of fuel siphoned from illegal pipeline taps are being sold through officially sanctioned gas stations.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/mexico-closes-7-gas-stations-allegedly-selling-stolen-fuel/2017/06/01/2d14f010-471a-11e7-8de1-cec59a9bf4b1_story.html?utm_term=.3003922636c2

Stolen radioactive material prompts alert across Mexico

DW – The head Mexico’s national emergency services, Luis Felipe Puente, warned on Monday that an unknown amount of nuclear material used in medical equipment had been stolen from the back of a truck in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state. The theft prompted an alert and search for material across nine states: Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacan San Luis Potosi, Durango and Zacatecas.

http://www.dw.com/en/stolen-radioactive-material-prompts-high-alert-across-mexico/a-38572718

Migrant activist found beaten near Mexico City

AP – A U.S. border rights activist has been found on the outskirts of Mexico City, after he sent a chilling Facebook live message saying he was stranded and people were trying to kill him. A Mexican federal official said the person found beaten was Hugo Castro. He is a member of the migrant defense group Border Angels.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-04-19/missing-migrant-activist-found-beaten-in-mexico

Mexico’s arrest of 2 former governors fails to satisfy anti-corruption critics

Ex-Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte was captured at a Guatemalan seaside resort.
Ex-Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte was captured at a Guatemalan seaside resort.

By Jude Webber / Financial Times

President Enrique Peña Nieto hailed the arrests of two fugitive former governors from Mexico’s ruling party within a week as a “convincing message” about the state’s commitment to fight corruption, which is often seen as a bigger problem for the country than Donald Trump’s threatened renegotiation of Nafta.

The detention of Javier Duarte, who is accused of bankrupting the southern state of Veracruz before absconding last year, and of Tomás Yarrington of the northern state of Nuevo León, who enjoyed state-assigned bodyguards for part of his five years on the run from money-laundering and drugs charges, are undeniable advances, analysts say. 

But the number of other former senior officials still wanted, and the slow progress in arming a new anti-corruption system with a prosecutor to lead the fight against the country’s endemic graft, suggest a lack of political will to match the rhetoric, critics say. 

The timing of Mexico’s arrests — ahead of a key gubernatorial election in the State of Mexico in June that the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) must win to remain afloat in the July 2018 presidential polls — looks expedient in a country where a corruption scandal over the president’s wife’s house decimated his popularity. 

“The evidence that they are really moving forward and determined to attack the problems at the root is just not there,” says Juan Francisco Torres Landa, who heads Mexico United Against Crime, a non-governmental organisation. 

https://www.ft.com/content/b37e6f92-240a-11e7-8691-d5f7e0cd0a16