On Christmas eve, in Piedras Negras, the border city of Coahuila, three decapitated bodies appeared, with their heads discovered in various public places of the city.
According to Mayor Fernando Puron, this is another sign that the “monster is lurking”, and “organized crime is not gone from the city”. Piedras shares a border with Eagle Pass Texas.
There are indications that the three victims were not involved with organized crime and may be innocents killed as props to generate fear and panic among the residents, who have become less fearful in the past year, the mayor agrees that this was the motive for the killings. Using innocents as props is a practice used by cartels to send a message. It is also possible the killings were retaliation for working with police, while there is no proof to support that, it is possible since the message could be read that way. It is unusual however, to send a message of a specific threat without signing the message.
The consensus is however, that the killings were a scare tactic to create terror at a time the population has become relaxed and confident in security. It is not unusual that a Coahuila narco message warms against trusting or relying on GATES.
Victims are identified as; Cristian Alfred Ramos Moreno, 17 years old, resident of Colonia San Joaquin, Eliseo Ruiz Santos de 33, resident of colonia Doctores, Claudia Hernández Cárdenas 37, of colonia Valle del Norte. The body of Eliseo had tattoos, one reading “Mexican” and another “Made in Mexico”.
The headless bodies were thrown on the grounds of Víctor M. Rueda sports park in colonia la Malvinas, the heads were found in the grounds of Plaza de las Culturas, and the baseball fields “Campos de Beisbol” of the macro plaza, as well as the HEB shopping parking center.
A cartulina message was left with the victims, which roughly translates to:
“Continue believing in GATES, and this will happen to all that support them. Think about things, before believing in them”
GATES, is the controversial Coahuila state police group, created by former governor Humberto Moreira. Rumors in Coahuila surfaced shortly after the group was created that instead of combating organized crime, they were protecting interests of Zetas and Moreira. Moreira has long been chased by reports of being in collusion with Zetas and corruption. He was forced to resign as federal chief of the PRI party. His brother Ruben “Pelon” Moreira became governor after Humberto.
GATES has been accused by citizens of extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, extortions and citizens have forwarded proof to back up claims. Ruben Moreira, the current governor of Coahuila, created an additional tactical group, Policia Estatal Acreditable, or simply “Aceditables”. The group seemed to be successful for toning down violence in key cities along the border, but also has been accused of abuses against citizens, and side stepping laws and constitutional rights of people, including innocents.