In December 2008, Los Zetas captured and executed eight military men in Guerrero, a violence-torn, impoverished southern state where a “dual sovereignty” exists between the elected government and narco-criminals. Pictures of the decapitated cadavers lying side-by-side flashed around the world on television and YouTube. Drug cartels seek to demonstrate that no one is beyond their reach; that is, that they possess the capacity to kidnap, torture, and execute individuals with decades of experience in fighting guerrillas and other malefactors.
In February 2009, the paramilitaries killed retired Brigadier General Mauro Enrique Tello Quinones. They broke his arms and legs before driving him into the jungle and executing him; his corpse and those of two aides were discovered two days after the mayor of Cancun hired Tello Quinones to form a swat team to fight such criminals.
Tabasco’s Governor Andres Granier has had trouble keeping military security chiefs because of threats from the underworld. Retired Major Sergio Lopez Uribe is the fourth ex-member of the armed forces to function as the state’s secretary of public security.
Ciudad Juarez’s police chief, retired Major Roberto Orduna Cruz, stepped down on February 20 after several officers were slain during the week and the killers posted handwritten signs. Their message: “We will execute a policeman every 48 hours until Orduna Cruz resigns.” He promptly did so and moved his family to the United States. More than 1,607 people died in Ciudad Juarez last year in unspeakable brutality that has included beheadings and the murder of more than 60 police officers. This year that toll has reached at least 1,846 homicides so far just in Juarez alone.
In the left picture is Chihuahua State Governor Jose Reyes Baeza speaking at a news conference alongside state Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez after gunmen attacked his convoy, killing one of his bodyguards and wounding two other agents. Even bodyguards of the governor of Chihuahua, the state where Ciudad Juarez is located, is not safe from the drug cartels. Baeza said gunmen in two cars fired high-powered weapons at a vehicle two cars behind his in a convoy in the state capital of Chihuahua city. The state’s death toll reached 348 during the first eight weeks of 2009.