Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Trial begins for suspects in killing of Mexican poet's son

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 |

Mexico City – A judge has ruled that the trial of the suspects in the March 27 slayings of Juan Francisco Sicilia, the son of well-known poet Javier Sicilia, and six other young men in the central Mexican state of Morelos can begin, the Attorney General's Office said.

Julio Cesar Radilla Hernandez, suspected of being the Pacifico Sur drug cartel's leader in Morelos, and 19 associates have been charged with the murders.

Victor Manuel Valdez Arteaga, Jesus Cardenas Mendez, Andres Marcelino Ramirez, Hugo Enrique Reducindo and Luis Alberto Millan Ramos are the other main suspects in the case, the AG's office said.

Radilla Hernandez and the other main suspects face trial on murder, kidnapping, organized crime, drug, auto theft and arms charges.

Radilla Hernandez is also charged with the murder of Raul Garcia Martinez, a suspected gunman.

Juan Francisco Sicilia, Jaime Gabriel Alejo, Alvaro Jaimes Avelar, Maria del Socorro Estrada, Jesus Chavez Vazquez and brothers Luis Antonio and Julio Cesar Romero Jaime were were killed in Jiutepec, a city in Morelos.

The 24-year-old Juan Francisco Sicilia and his friends were killed because two of the young men reported an extortion attempt to authorities, who were investigating the case when Pacifico Sur cartel gunmen abducted, tortured and murdered them, officials said.

Javier Sicilia reacted to his son's killing by organizing protests and marches against the drug-related violence that has claimed more than 40,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006.

The poet and journalist has called on Mexicans to push for an end to President Felipe Calderon's war against the country's drug cartels.

The poet has rallied Mexicans who are fed up with the drug-related violence that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people in the past few years and a government strategy that has done little to stem the killing.

The poet has criticized both Calderon's decision to militarize the war on drugs and the criminalization of innocent victims and their families.

Sicilia plans a peace caravan from southern Mexico to the central region of the country in September.

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