By Chris Covert
A total of four youths were found shot to death Thursday in the southern Chihuahua state municipality of Bocoyna, according to Mexican news accounts.
A news item which appeared on the website of El Punte Libre news daily said that a Mexican Army unit was dispatched to a stretch of road near the village of San Juanito, where soldiers found the victims naked to the waist, shot once in the head and stuffed inside a pickup truck.
The victims were identified as Daniel Abraham Dominguez Rodriguez, 20, Irving Noe Aleman Rodriguez, 19, Oscar Francisco Molina Mafiodo, 19, and Saul Adriel Paredes Martinez, 20.
The victims were reported kidnapped before they were found dead.
This latest find comes on the heels of a major confrontation between local criminal elements and Chihuahua state police, which came to a head last week as two state police agents were killed and another four were wounded in an ambush near San Juanito. The ambush was a response by the criminal group to a raid the day before which killed three criminal suspects, and resulted in three arrests.
That gunfight took place because, according to recently installed Fiscalia General del Estado (FGE) or state attorney general, Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas, state police were ordered into area to conduct counternarcotics operations more "aggressively", which were previously left alone by his predecessor, Carlos Manuel Salas,and were reversing Salas' previous policies. That policy suggested a connection between Salas and organized crime in the state.
Salas left his post last October after being appointed three years before in the wake of the 2010 election.
That supposed nexus was charged by local criminal groups in 2011, which went on a state murder spree of state police commanders in Chihuahua city claiming Salas maintained a connection with the Juarez dug cartel. Similarly, his predecessor, Patricia Gonzalez, spent the last two years of her term as FGE under the same charges by criminal elements.
Gonzalez lost her brother to a brutal organized crime hit in 2010, and despite an investigation by the national attorney general, Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) , none of those charges were ever proved.
In a related development last week, Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas said his office was beginning an investigation into links between Salas and organized crime.
Saturday, however, FGE western district spokesman, Alexa Lara, said that state police presence in Bocoyna would be "withdrawn", but that the police were not going to completely retire from the area, essentially, doing what the FGE office said Salas had done, which had indicated a possible nexus with organized crime.
In a news account published in the online edition of El Diario de Chihuahua news daily , the Lara characterized the situation as "calm" but "tenuous", and Mexican Army patrols have been intensified in the region.
The news story goes on to note that police would be rotated in and out of the area and the number of police elements would be "random", presumably as a security measure
Meanwhile the municipal government of Ciudad Madera in far western Chihuahua state, announced Thursday that a long abandoned project to build an army base was to be resumed.
Madera, like most of the territory from Chihuahua city south is within the area of operation of the Mexican 42nd Military Zone. Typical Mexican Army bases house company sized elements, or about 100 effectives.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com He can be reached at email@example.com