Borderland Beat by DD with excerpts from SinEmbargo, and stories previously post on Borderland Beat.
This week the Attorney General of the state of Coahuila (PGJE) denied that 300 people were missing in the Zeta attack on Allende, Nava, and other surrounding towns in a retaliatory attack that took place over 3 years ago. He said that after a “massive search” for bodies and his investigation the evidence showed that there were 28 people kidnapped and of those 28 people kidnapped 11 were killed.
If the numbers didn’t represent real people, most of them innocent of any wrong doing, his statement would be laughable.
His investigation started in January of this year, over 3 years after the largest kidnapping and massacre in Coahuila history (probably in all of Mexico). Borderland Beat reported on the start of the “massive search” in an article dated Feb. 2, 2014, entitled “Coahuila Corruption;Searching Hundreds of Missing in Allende Massacre”.
The state said they were using “state of the art” equipment and 250 specially selected military and police with the support of a helicopter, four dogs, and specialized radars to detect bodies up to eight feet under were used. The team was responsible for looking for more than 300 missing persons in a search area of 50 thousand square kilometers in 12 days. .
BB followed up with a story on Feb. 8 with a story about the search for bodies, “Coahuila’s Clandestine Grave Body Count Rises to 500”. Then on April 29 BB reported “2500 Human Remains found inCoahuila not 500-So says the State”. In that article BB reporter Chivis Martinez reported
“The Coahuila state attorney reported yesterday an error in calculation of remains discovered in the “massive search” conducted in January, it was reported at that time the human remains were that of up to 500 people, but the actual number, according to Coahuila state Ruben Moreira administration, is 2500.”
In fairness to the state attorney, he did not start his investigation and search for the missing in Allende until January 2014. Borderland Beat had a jump on him because it began it’s investigation and reporting on the massacre on March 26, 2011, just days after the kidnapping and murders.
On the night of March 18, 2011, Los Zetas Cartel started a week of terror in Piedras Negras and los Cinco Manantiales (5 Springs Area) which includes: Allende, Morelos, Zaragoza, Villa Union and Nava. The kidnapping and presumed killings were “ajuste de cuentas” - settling of accounts- and was ordered by Zetas.
At that time, approximately 40 trucks filled with dozens of hooded and masked gunmen arrived in Allende in search of family, friends, and acquaintances of Cuéllar and Moreno (the 2 who had stolen Z-40.s money). With heavy machinery, they destroyed around 80 houses and took at least 80 families; they took advantage of holding the municipalities for rape, blackmail, murder, and to steal properties from entrepreneurs and farmers.
First reports to emerge, mostly by witnesses to afraid to say much say that over a hundred were killed and 10 homes in Allende alone were burned or destroyed. Whole families were kidnapped or killed, including infants and children. Even servants of the families were “disappeared’. Many of those taken had the misfortune to simply have the last name of someone on the Zeta hit list.
The terrified and defenseless population kept silent. The government of Coahuila, according to then Attorney General Jesús Torres Charles, made "very serious preliminary investigations" that it delivered to the PGR [Attorney General's Office] of Marisela Morales, where it seemingly got lost, misplaced, or forgotten because the reports of the missing issued by the Calderon administration never included the missing from Allende and the five springs area.
There was little or no press coverage except for Borderland Beat that published it’s first story on the massacre on March 26, 2011. Just days after the terror ended. But no one paid attention. The story basically remained hidden (except to BB readers) until this last year.
Little by little the outline of the massacre became known. In November of 2012, current Governor Rubén Moreira spoke publicly of the "destruction of more than 40 houses" and that "a great many people have disappeared and are feared dead." A month later, Juan Alberto Cedillo published the first of a series of reports in Proceso, and in 2014 more articles have appeared.
We lack details, becaause the populace remains secretive, because it knows that it is still at the mercy of the murderers. Their defenselessness is absolute, because even the bureaucracies paid to serve them pretend not to notice. On the web page of the Commission for Human Rights of the State of Coahuila (presided over by Xavier Díez de Urdanivia), nothing is said about the disappeared.
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) cut and run, as usual. Its head, Raúl Plascencia, was in Coahuila in June of 2013 at a forum on the topic. He came out with a string of splendid phrases ("Mexico no longer tolerates a single disappearance"), but made no reference to the Allende missing.
All of this transpired because 2 men who handled transporting cocaine across the border and were involved in money laundering as well were suspected by Z-40, then supreme leader of Los Zetas, of having betrayed him to the DEA. The two men found out about Z-40’s suspicions and high-tailed it across the border with 5 million dollars of Zeta money. Z-40 sent them a message that if they didn’t return the $5 mil he would kill their families, friends, and associates, and destroy their houses.
The 2 thieves rejected Z-40’s demand and they turned themselves over to US authorities and became prosecution witnesses in the trial of Z-40’s brother for money laundering (which was covered in depth with on the scene reporting by Borderland Beat reporters Havana and Chivis). More information about the Allende Massacre came to light from statements they gave federal prosecutors. They are currently in the US “protected witness” program.
Z-40 made good on his threat and the week or terror began.
In the words of Moreno (one of the thieves who stole the money and is now in the hands of US prosecutors);
“They wanted to kill me," Moreno told a court in the United States, in statements that were published by the San Antonio Express News. "They started killing Allende families, Piedras Negras, Múzquiz and Sabinas. Because of this, killed 200 or 300 people in Allende, "said the witness
This week, three years and eight months later, Attorney Homero Ramos Gloria announced partial progress of the investigation by thef state administration on the crimes committed by the criminal group "Los Zetas" against citizens of Allende, Piedras Negras, Nava.
Earlier this week the state Attorney General explained that "during the search operation 3450 bone indications were found, the Science Unit of the Federal Police ruled that 2977 of them they cannot determine their origin or obtain DNA because they were burned [ ...] the remaining 473 are analyzed to obtain their DNA and, certainly, the results will contribute to the clarification of these events. "
Some good did come from the AG’s search for the bodies and his continuing investigation of the Allende Massacre. Reporters and photographers were invited to join the search, and although their presence may have contaminated crime scenes, it gave current Governor Ruben Moreira and the ruling party, PRI, an opportunity to wage a huge public relations program to show how they were fighting crime and improving security for the people. (it was basically a photo op).
The good aspect of his investigation is that the slaughter remained hidden from the public for more than three years, and only learned in early 2014, when about 250 soldiers, accompanied by forensic and effective federal and state forces, began searching for the missing.
Needless to say the AG report of 28 people kidnapped and of those only 11 killed differs substantially from the facts we have presented over the last 3 years here on Borderland Beat. We’ll leave it to the readers as to who to believe. As Chivis says frequently, “and the beat goes on”.