|Carlos Manuel Salas|
Chihuahua state Fiscalia General del Estado (FGE) or attorney general confirmed Wednesday that his office has opened a criminal investigation of former Chihuahua state FGE, Carlos Manuel Salas, according to Mexican news reports.
A news report which appeared in the online edition of El Diario de Chihuahua news daily said that Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas has begun an investigation into events surrounding the murder of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz in 2010 in which Carlos Manuel Salas may have had a connection.
Manuel Salas became Chihuahua FGE in 2010 with the change in governments.
Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was a Chihuahua personal justice activist who sought justice for her daughter, Rubi Marisol Freyre Escobedo, for two years between 2008 and 2010 only to end on the steps of Chihuahua state government offices, gunned down by an unknown assailant.
Rubi's killer, Rafael Barraza Sergio Bocanegra, had been brought before the court just before Marisela's death, but was released by a three judge panel in 2010. The fiscalia arguing the case in 2010 was Patricia Gonzalez, who had argued the case so poorly, the judges were left with little choice than to release Sergio Bocanegra.
Sergio Bocanegra was gunned down in 2012 in Zacatecas state in a firefight with an army unit, as he and his crew attempted an ambush of an element of the Mexican 53rd Rifle Battalion on a road between General Joaquin Amaro and Tabasco municipalities, on Mexico Federal Highway 54. Four men died in that encounter. Sergio Bocanegra was a known Los Zetas commander whose crew operated in Zacatecas.
Senora Gonzalez herself had spent years under suspicion of a nexus with the Juarez drug cartel, and had even lost her brother, Mario, because a local Sinaloa affiliated kidnapping crew wanted to air a "confession" extracted by a severe beating. Mario was found shot to death in the fall of 2010 after being kidnapped out of his law office in Chihuahua city. Gonzalez has not been charged with any crime since leaving office in the fall of 2010 despite undergoing an investigation with the Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) or national attorney general, following her departure.
Current Chihuahua state governor, Cesar Duarte at the time was forced to remove the three judges following the outrage and reaction to the decision to release Sergio Bocanegra.
According to the news account, Gonzalez Nicolas said the investigation will include other Chihuahua state government officials who may have had an involvement into the murder.
Marisela Escobedo Ortiz's death was a tragic coda in which several individuals in her family were killed within a short time of each other. The Friday before her death armed suspects attacked a lumber yard owned by Marsela's husband, Jose Monje Marroquin, burned it to the ground using gasoline and then kidnapped her brother in law, Arturo Monje Marroquin, 37. He was found dead the following day. At the time Chihuahua state government officials denied any connection between the arson and murder and the murder of Marisela.
The following Wednesday Doctor Alfonso Perez Dominguez, 46, was shot to death in San Angel colony in Ciudad Juarez. He was planning to attend the vigil of Marisela. The doctor had no known nexus to any of the crimes related to the murders.
Indications in Mexican press are that the newly opened investigation comes on the heels of an internal investigation of Manuel Salas and his activities relating to his role in fighting organized crime.
A news report which appeared in La Polaka news daily quoted a La Mesa de Seguridad operative, Jorge Contreras Fornelli, who said that dropping crime statistics in Chihuahua state show that it is the new fiscalia, not Manual Salas who should take credit for improvement in the security situation.
Contreras Fornelli is also quoted saying that during Manuel Salas' tenure as FGE, Chihuahua state police were ordered not to act against organized crime, and now that Gonzalez Nicolas is ordering his police to do so, "the results speak for themselves."
Manuel Salas left office in October, 2013.
According to Mexican news account high impact crime in the state has dropped dramatically. A news account appearing in the online edition of El Heraldo de Chihuahua news daily said that double digit year over year drops in murders and kidnappings, and a drop is extortion has been experienced as well.
According to data supplied in the news article murders have dropped by 29 percent, and kidnapping by 31 percent year over year. Extortion has dropped by nine percent over the same period.
Home invasions and business robberies were down modestly, four percent and six percent respectively, while auto thefts were down considerably, 31 percent. Carjackings were also down with that classification taking 15 percent of the total compared to 26 percent over the previous year.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and Borderlandbeat.com He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org