Two weeks ago the news broke that Luis Felipe Ferra Gomez aka “ El Ferras” was captured in an impressive military operation in Rio Blanco, Veracruz. Ferras was one of 19 inmates that escaped from the medium security La Toma prison in Amatlán, Veracruz.
Toma was one of the prisons hit by a mass coordinated prison escape that resulted in a total of 32 inmates escaping from 3 prisons on September 19th. Within two weeks many of the escapees had been captured, including 14 at a camp believed to be operated by the Zeta Cartel. “EL Ferras” was not among the inmates captured.
In the day following the escape, a grisly, and seemingly related, event occurred in Boca Del Rio, Veracruz. In the high traffic hour of 5pm, two white, stake body trucks stopped and dumped a cargo of 35 human bodies. After securing rope ends to the rails of the vehicles, the assassins hung two narco mantas in a top bottom arrangement. The manta at top brazenly displayed this message:
"NO MORE EXTORTION, NO MORE DEATHS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE! ZETAS OF THE STATE OF VERACRUZ: THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU. AND TO THE PEOPLE OF VERACRUZ, DON'T PAY ANY FEES TO THE ZETAS, ALL THEY DO IS EXTORT YOU!"
The bottom manta was much less visible, apparently dropping and resting on several bodies lying on the pavement below, it read:
“THIS WILL HAPPEN TO ALL THE ZETA SHIT THAT STAYS IN VERACRUZ, THE PLAZA HAS A NEW OWNER...G.N. (GENTE NUEVA). HERE IS EL FERRAS AND HIS ROYAL COURT”
The initial “G.N.” refers to Gente Nueva, AKA Mata Zetas (kill zetas) a paramilitary style enforcer group. Originating from Jalisco they are believed to work for the Sinaloa Cartel and its leader “El Chapo”.
The news exploded on both sides of the border, incredibly, and based on nothing more than the words of ruthless sicarios, it was reported that the slaughtered 35 were Zetas. Further it was reported that among the dead was “El Ferras”.
The assassin’s message stated that Ferras was among the dead. Thereby, one of the 35 dead would be the same El Ferras who escaped on September 19th in the mass exodus from La Toma Prison, and the man captured on Friday December 16th.
While incarcerated, “El Ferras”, was crowned "Rey de Carnaval", (King of Carnival ) at the 2009 Mardi Gras carnival festivities inside the Cereso prison. The assumption was the manta referred to him. However, it was never clear if the implication was an attempt at black humor by the killers and in reality the reference was to another person by the same moniker. In either instance, no person with a moniker of “El Ferras” was identified in the carnage.
Within hours of the shocking act, the attorney general for the State of Veracruz, Reynaldo Escobar Pérez astonished just about everyone by being extremely premature, in investigative terms, by announcing that most of the bodies had been identified and ALL had prior criminal records that included kidnapping, murder, drug trafficking and organized crime.
Conspicuously, on October 7th he would again surprise those following the Veracruz story when he resigned his position following yet an additional discovery of 32 corpses at a cartel safe house. Citing “personal reasons”, the untimely departure directly followed his launch of the “Safe Veracruz” campaign.
The media for their part intractably held onto the “fact” that the dead were of the Zetas Cartel. At that time, STRATFOR predicted that the Zetas would carry out reprisals in Veracruz, declaring that their “sources” indicated “The dumping of bodies is a clear sign that whoever carried out the attacks does not believe the Zetas can retaliate in force, and the next few weeks will show whether this is true. If the Zetas are unable to strike back hard to prove they can protect their territory and personnel, the competing cartels will perceive weakness and move in to crush them”, reported Stratfor.
To this day media sources continue to refer to the dead victims as “Zetas”. A few in the media use the term “alleged Zetas”, but remain resolute to the fact that the dead were the bad guys, all had criminal records and were connected to organized crime.
In an interview by Joaquín López Dóriga, the Deputy Regional of the PGR, José Cuitláhuac Salinas Martínez, reiterated twice the fact that the dead were not found to have cartel connections, and that only 6 had any type of criminal record, four of those being minor infractions and two being of a more serious nature.
López Dóriga pressed further by asking, “Both Governor Duarte and the then Procurator of Justice stated that the deceased 35 had a criminal records, do you corroborate that?”
“In regards to the statements by the then Attorney General and Governor, I cannot say anything because I don't know about that, but in what it corresponds to the file that I had at my disposal, it is another perspective for let’s say something in this regard, it’s another version…” answered Salinas Martínez. (Shortly after the interview, President Calderon appointed Salinas Martinez to the position of chief of SIEDO- Special Investigations of Organized Crime)
“Not of organized crime” a fact confirmed by the PGR, yet commonly in the international press and in the minds of the public, the dead remain Zetas to this day, even when the truth as been revealed. It appears irrelevant that the PGR concluded its identification and criminal history investigations on the victims and their findings bore no cartel affiliations. (PGR is Mexico’s Federal Attorney’s General) Few have bothered with the truth, especially the media north of the border.
If not Zetas, nor criminals, just who were the Boca Del Rio dead?
In part two, you will meet the victims, learn about them in life. Part two will give honor to the dead, and speak the truth of who those 35 humans were, among the dead; housewives, high school students and a highly decorated policeman.
Used as props by coldblooded killers. They will be justly referred to, as victims, not zetas, those 35 victims who before their death bore unimaginable torture, branded with paint the words “Por Z” and were subsequently asphyxiated. Then in a final act of humiliation were thrown nude or seminude onto the pavement, for the world to see and committing unthinkable trauma for their loved ones to endlessly bear.