Friday, May 23, 2014

Narco War Billboards Mysteriously Appear in El Paso

Borderland Beat
El Paso Police are investigating the vandalism of two billboards overnight that included messages and hanging mannequins.

An El Paso Police spokesman said they do not have any information to suggest this was done to target a particular person or business at this time.

One message was painted on a billboard in far East El Paso at in the 9400 block of Gateway East, off I-10 East, and read “plato o plomo."

In Mexico, that type of message was directed at people in power such as police or government officials. It is interpreted to mean either take the bribe being offered (plata) or take the bullet (plomo).

Viewers that called into the ABC El Paso newsroom found the mannequin hanging from a noose from the billboard dressed in a suit to be more disturbing than the message.

Mike Mons, regional manager for Lamar Outdoor Advertising which owns the far East billboard, says the "plata o plomo" billboard is “vandalism” and El Paso Police are investigating it as a “crime scene.”  

“It’s not an advertisement. As of 3:30 yesterday, it (the billboard) was blank,” Mons said by phone from Albuquerque.

The second billboard was in the 5200 block of Gateway East, off I-10, and had "dying for drugs" painted on it with a mannequin hanging from the billboard in a noose.
A rumor circulated that the "plato o plomo" message was advertising for the second season of FX's "The Bridge." An FX publicist told ABC-7 that the show is not connected to the message

However,  New Era Films, reported to KXAN El Paso, that  is in the planning stages of making a film titled “Plata O Plomo.” The CEO for the company told El Paso media that no one from their business orchestrated the displays. But they did say a marketing campaign with similar artwork had been planned.

The movie is supposed to be a fictional tale of drug cartel violence, and is set along the El Paso-Juãrez border.

El Paso police aren’t laughing though and say those behind the display could face, at a minimum, charges of criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

ABC EL Paso and KXAN