Monday, July 26, 2010
Drug Cartel Video Leads to Arrests
It is by any measure a horrendous video. An abducted policeman from the Ciudad Lerdo, Durango police force, Rodolfo Najera, flanked by two Zeta gangmembers, has been savagely beaten and in a barely legible voice answers his interrogator’s questions, barked out by the now all too familiar rough, threatening voice.
Rodolfo Najera is about to die and this video of his interrogation and execution has already sent shockwaves throughout Mexico. In fact, this video threatens to destroy any credibility remaining in the state and local law enforcement institutions and governments in the areas of the country that are heavily infiltrated by drug cartels and are under attack by their paramilitary armies.
The pathetic truth of this video is that it took the Zetas torture of a corrupt to the core policeman to break the case of the massacre of 18 attendees of a birthday party in Torreon, Coahuila, last Sunday and the 2 other mass murders committed in the tri-city area of Torreon, Ciudad Lerdo and Gomez Palacio, Durango. This area is known as the Lagunera district.
Maybe we all believed that the inability to solve these crimes was because of ineptness, lack of proper training in police procedures and the pervasive “plata o plomo” intimidation by organized crime. Anybody with a wife and children can understand this fear.
However, after one hears the revelations in this video and learns of the forensic evidence discovered by the PGR (federal attorney general’s office), the only conclusion left is that the tri-city area authorities are in collusion with the perpetrators of these massacres
Some of these authorities may have been perpetrators themselves. Every local and state policeman, every state investigative agent and every Ministério Público (state prosecutorial magistrate) in the tri-city area must have known what is revealed.
Some of these authorities are certainly working for the Zetas also. Those two Zetas flanking Rodolfo Najera may very well be policemen that he knows.
Rodolfo Najera has been tortured, his face disfigured, and is under extreme duress. The first questions are introductory: name, age (25), occupation.
At 00:21 the nature of his corruption begins to unfold. He, a policeman, works for “el Pirata” (pirate) the boss of a gang of puchadores ijn Lerdo (street level, disposable barrio drug sellers, the lowest rung in the ladder) Najera is probably an halcon, a lookout or informant, for el Pirata.
He is then asked about “Arturo”. His first response is unintelligible but this Arturo has gone to Guadalajara. It is implied he is the head of a rival criminal gang fighting the Zetas for control of the Lagunera district. Maybe he is from the Sinaloa cartel or a member of La Resistencia at the head of the criminal gang fighting the Zetas for control of the Lagunera district.
At 00:59 Najera is asked about the kidnapping and death of Jesus Arroyo, an elderly gentleman and owner of Los Alfredos restaurant who was interrogated on a video by his captors and accused of being a Zeta collaborator
Najera says that he was kidnapped by el Pirata and el Cayo who are led by a prisoner in the CERESO prison by the name of Daniel Gabriel “el Delta”.
At 1:25 he mentions that el Delta is released nightly at 8:00 pm by “la directora” or the warden of the prison
At 2:33 Najera is asked who else in the police force protects the criminal group he works for and he begins to name other policemen who provide protection to “Arturo”.
At minute 3:21 the shorter Zeta with a blue shirt turns around to reveal a cap that is hard to identify. It’s worth checking to see if it’s a police cap but really, nobody would be that stupid.
At 4:01 the same Zeta tugs at Najera’s left ear which is barely hanging onto his head. The short slender thug seems bored. A fine example of the “banality of evil”
At 5:28 Najera is asked about “el Guero Pollero” a puchador who was sent by Arturo to kill people in the barrios of Torreon and repeats what someone off camera says that it was done to “ponerle gorro a los Zetas” (create problems for los Zetas)
It’s worth noting that its conceivable Najera is simply repeating answers he has been fed but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Najera. His answers are too imperfect for that. Sometimes it looks like he is reacting to a cue but that could be simply be that the person or persons who mauled him are within his field of vision and he is reacting to their movement
At 5:50 Najera is asked about the killings of the 18 people at the Italia Inn and he answers it was done by el Guero and Danny (el Delta) and other prisoners from the CERESO prison under orders from “Arturo”. He says these same people committed the other mass murders at the Juanas and El Ferrie bars earlier this year. Najera is starting to come apart now.
At 6:15 Najera starts talking about the CERESO prisoners who leave the prison in a red pickup and white van belonging to the prison. They are armed with assault weapons and tactical or bulletproof vests. The weapons are AR-15’s and also belong to the CERESO inventory.
At 6:41 Najera states that the CERESO director’s name is Margarita and that she authorizes the release of the prisoners armed with CERESO weapons with the full knowledge of the murders they are about to commit. He states that Danny is in charge inside the prison and that Margarita provides protection for Danny “el Delta” and “el Chino” and their people in the prison.
7:26 Najera states that Margarita is the godmother to Danny’s child and they work closely together. Danny also serves as Margarita’s bodyguard and drives her home from the CERESO compound every night.
At 8:22 Najera states that Danny leaves the CERESO compound every night after 8:00 pm with at least 15 gunmen armed with CERESO AR-15’s and small arms to “madrear” (mess up) Zetas. They return between 12:00 and 1:00 am after the “desmadre” (disorder/fighting) is over. They hide their vehicles inside the CERESO compound.
At 9:02 he repeats that all this occurs in the CERESO prison #2 in Gomez Palacio overseen by Margarita.
It is already dark when Najera is executed.
The video was uploaded last week onto the internet.
On Thursday and Friday, July 22 and 23, Margaritas Rojas Rodriguez and the administration and prison staff of the CERESO 2 prison in Gomez Palacio are taken into custody by federal police and are questioned based on the information revealed in the Rodolfo Najera video. Evidence pertaining to the investigation is also seized
The questioning of the prison population is begun. However it can be safely assumed that all the inmates who were members of the death squads were probably moved out of the prison before the federal police arrived.
Federal and state policemen and the military take custody of the prison on Friday.
On Sunday, July 25, the Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, and the press secretary for the PGR, Ricardo Najera convene a press conference
Francisco Blake and Ricardo Najera confirm the facts revealed in the video that a death squad composed of prisoners operated from within the CERESO-2 prison in Gomez Palacio with the support of the prison director and her staff using CERESO weapons and vehicles.
Ricardo Najera stated that the prisoners are allegedly responsible for up to 38 murders in 3 separate massacres in Torreon Coahuila including the latest multiple murder of 17 victims in the Italia Inn last Sunday.
The spokesman for the PGR vowed "to get to the bottom of the facts and the truth about the unfortunate events of recent months in Torreon, Coahuila."
“Inmates are allowed out at night, with the permission of Margarita Rojas, director of the CERESO and used weapons and vehicles belonging to the prison staff for executions of rival gang members linked to organized crime.” Said Ricardo Najera “Unfortunately the cowardly criminals also killed innocent civilians only to return later in the night to their cells”
“It was determined that four AR-15’s .223 caliber, Colt brand, were used in the events of July 18 in the Italia Inn. These weapons were also used in the executions at the Ferrie bar, which occurred on February 1, 2010, and the bar Juanas, committed on May 15, 2010, both in the city of Torreon," he explained.
Forensic evidence such as matching the gun specific marks on empty bullet casings from all 3 crime scenes were used to make this crucial determination
Interior Minister Blake Mora provided a lengthy discourse on the deterioration of security institutions within the country and challenged the state and local governments to address corruption.
No plan of action was addressed to halt the increasing attacks against the rule of law except a commitment to follow President Calderon’s National Security Strategy.
Monday July 26, back in CERESO 2 in Gomez Palacio
About 11:00 am, 35 inmates climbed to the roof of the jail and with banners demanded the release and reinstatement of the director Margarita Rojas Rodriguez to her post.
State police and the Mexican Army surrounded the site to prevent a riot.
Rojas Rodriguez was appointed to her post on August 17, 2009, after a riot inside the prison where 19 inmates died and 20 were wounded
At approximately 2:30 pm a prison guard, Ofelia Rodriguez Veronica Lares was found murdered in one of the visiting areas within the prison compound.
Investigating authorities reported that at first glance the guard died of chest and abdomen wounds.