Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mexican general, 29 soldiers on trial for homicide

Thursday, February 2, 2012 |



OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mexican-general-29-soldiers-trial-homicide-15482639

A Mexican army general and 29 soldiers under his command in a town on the border with Texas are being tried on charges of torture, homicide, drug trafficking and other crimes, a top government official confirmed Tuesday.

Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire said that the crimes charged in the case are "deplorable and reprehensible" and that the troops are being tried in a military court.

Details about Gen. Manuel Moreno Avina and his subordinates' alleged reign of terror in the town of Ojinaga, across from Presidio, Texas, were first reported by the newspaper Reforma, which had access to some of the soldiers' testimony.

Shortly after Moreno arrived in Ojinaga in spring 2008, the troops under his command began kidnapping, torturing and killing suspects and stealing cars, computers, TV sets and even mattresses during raids on suspects' homes, according to the testimony reported by Reforma. They allegedly resold the stolen items as well as marijuana and cocaine they seized.

Poire did not confirm the allegations contained in Reforma's story, and the Defense Department didn't respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

According to the newspaper, prosecutors say at least 10 civilians were killed by soldiers or by hit men under the orders of Moreno in 2008 and 2009.

At least three of those slain were described as suspects in the custody of soldiers, including a man in his 20s who was detained in July 2008 and taken to the military garrison and given electroshocks until he died of a heart attack. His body allegedly was taken to a ranch, soaked in diesel and burned.

Seven other people were killed on the orders of Moreno by two hit men working for La Linea, a gang of assassins and corrupt police officers who act as enforcers for the Juarez Cartel, according to the testimony reported by Reforma.

Among the alleged victims were a secretary at the federal prosecutors' office in Ojinaga, a state police officer, a local police officer who stopped Moreno for speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, and a businessman who filed a complaint with federal prosecutors and human rights officials after soldiers raided his house and stole money.

Soldiers also reportedly testified that Moreno often kept cars seized in legal and illegal raids and had them painted in military green.

Poire said the general and other soldiers are being tried in a military court in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa and are all being held at a military prison in the state of Jalisco, it said.

Military investigators were first alerted to the soldiers' crimes in August 2009 by an anonymous complaint that they were collaborating with a criminal group, Defense Department officials told Reforma.

President Felipe Calderon deployed 50,000 soldiers and other military personnel to fight organized crime shortly after taking office in December 2006. More than 47,000 people have been killed in drug violence since Calderon launched his offensive, according to government figures.

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights and Mexico's own Supreme Court have ruled that soldiers who commit human rights violations against civilians should be tried in civilian courts. Calderon has said his government will comply with rulings, but so far it has not made the transition or agreed to give civilian courts military cases of murder.

A Human Rights Watch report on Mexico released in November said only 15 soldiers had been convicted following 3,671 investigations by military prosecutors into alleged human rights violations by soldiers against civilians from 2007 to June 2011. No soldier or state official had been convicted in any of more than 200 cases that the New York-based rights group documented in the report.

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13 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

The death sentence is applied in a military tribunal, unlike civilian courts

Anonymous said...

A Mexican General has significant power. Their salary range is, I am sure surprisingly low. They, just like most in power can seize the moment and make their fortune with little interference. This has been very common with high military in Mexico for decades. The reason this case was isolated and prosecuted was because General Manuel Moreno Avila and his men were working for the "wrong" cartel. Had they been working for the right cartel as in the other 3,671 investigated, it would not have been substantiated by the military prosecutors. The Mexican leadership and their military have lost their course and greed is the only mission. This is one perfect example of why the military does not belong in a long term policing assignment.

Anonymous said...

We are brewing some of the worst MF in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise. A little reality check for those who think the soldiers are anything more than another group of gun-toting drug-dealers on the payroll of one cartel or another.

Unfortunately we have no way of knowing whether the soldiers KIA in Gusave, Sinaloa were attempting to fight Beltran-Leyva on behalf of the CDS, or as a legitimate mission. If you think the police and military are forces of good, you don't understand the situation in Mexico right now, although usually the military are more trustworthy and noble than the local or federal police.

Anonymous said...

Please keep up with this story! Unbelievable! Generals terrorizing civilians, Governers protected by known cartel hit men, cops not given their weapons when off duty, and that El Arab scum, I feel like my head is going to explode just reading it, and thousands of Mexican children have to live through this! I feel ashamed and I'm not even Mexican, it's all wrong Wrong WRONG!!!

Anonymous said...

This is nothing new! All of these so called military acumen bags do this! Just ask anyone that lives in sinaloa, durango, Chihuahua,guadalajara,ect. They come in the middle of the night with u-haul looking trucks and basically rob the houses of anything in value.

Anonymous said...

Why dont we ever hear anything about Ojinaga?

Anonymous said...

February 2, 2012 8:05 AM You are another fool talking shit out of your ass. Had they been working for the right cartel? According to you which cartel is the right one?

Mexico has some of the worst corruption problems in the world, and before Felipe Calderon any cartel will be the right cartel, now things are different even if you people don't believe it.

Anonymous said...

4:48

The "right cartel" would be the Sinaloa cartel. It's not a secret that the Cartel de Sinaloa receives special treatment from both the U.S. and Mexican federal governments, and soldiers have been used as gunmen and bag men for the cartel.

Anonymous said...

6:16 PM You are totally wrong. The Sinaloa cartel has being hit several times as well. Several big capos in their ranks got arrested or killed.

Anonymous said...

Ha your a joke. What "big" capos ? Flaco was turned in along with those two guys because on the intetnal battle going on inside CDS , they have to turn someone in so they dont look too untouchable by the gov , cant wait to see what Pena Nieto will bring

Anonymous said...

fuck the sinaloa cartel and both governments

Anonymous said...

Mexico receives a few hundred million dollars per year from the US to fund the Mexican military. There is an accountability to not fund specific brigades involved in this kind of abuse. It is called the "Leahy Law" after the US senator that authored it. If you are a US citizen you can protest this use of your tax dollars. General Diaz Perez of the 24th military zone in Cuernavaca falls into this category as reported many times in the press. I am sure there are many others. Contact your congressman or senator to stop what now is in the thousands of reported horrific abuses to the innocent public funded in part by US dollars.

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