Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Chief Executed


Agualeguas, Nuevo Leon - The decapitated body of the police chief of a northern Mexico town and the body of his brother were found inside the chief's patrol truck Friday.

The Agualeguas municipal chief and his brother were discovered after state police received a telephone call early Friday about a patrol vehicle abandoned near a village more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon’s capital, state Attorney General Alejandro Garza y Garza said.

Forensic experts examine a police patrol car after police found the decapitated body of a town police chief and the body of his brother inside the car near the town of General Trevino, Mexico Friday March 26, 2010. The windshield and driver's door of Cerda's patrol car had 'C.D.G,' an acronym for the Gulf drug cartel, written in blood.

The body of Heriberto Cerda, the police chief in Agualeguas, was found on the bed of a patrol pickup truck, which was left on a dirt road in the nearby town of General Trevino. His head was on his lap, said a spokesman for Nuevo Leon state prosecutors who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

The body of the chief's brother, Jesus Cerda, was found inside the truck, the official said. He didn't say how Jesus Cerda was killed.

Nuevo Leon state secretary general Javier Trevino told reporters that Cerda and his brother had been reported missing Thursday.

The killers used the victims’ blood to paint the patrol vehicle with the initials “CDG,” signifying Cartel del Golfo, or Gulf cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful drug outfits. The windshield and driver's door of the patrol car had "C.D.G.," an acronym for the Gulf drug cartel, written in blood, photos showed.

Forensic personnel inspect a police truck, with the letters CDG written in blood on the windshield.

The border state of Nuevo Leon, where Agualeguas and General Trevino are located, has seen an upsurge in violence that authorities say is the result of a turf battle between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas, the cartel's former hit men.

The slayings came a day after Mexican marines on patrol in the Nuevo Leon town of Cerralvo came under fire after ordering a convoy of gunmen traveling in six vehicles to stop. Six of the assailants were killed.

Drug-related mayhem has claimed a dozen lives in Nuevo Leon over the past two days, including six gunmen killed in a clash with Mexican marines.

Violence has intensified in Nuevo Leon and neighboring Tamaulipas since the appearance last month in Monterrey of giant banners announcing an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels against Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned killers for hire.

After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s penchant for kidnapping, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans, many of whom were inclined to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.

Battles among drug cartels and the security forces’ struggle against the mobs have claimed nearly 19,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when current President Felipe Calderon took office.

Vowing to crush the cartels, Calderon has deployed 50,000 soldiers and 20,000 federal police to the country’s most conflictive areas, yet the pace of drug-related killings has only accelerated, from 2,700 people in 2007 to 7,724 fatalities last year.

The 2010 death toll has already topped 2,200, according to a tally kept by Mexico City daily El Universal.



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