Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Real Test of Confidence

The majority of the 334 Juarez police officers that were dismissed last year after failing "confidence exams" have left the city but a few have remained. These exams consisted of some sort of polygraph examination to weed out those who were questionable as having ties to organize crime. Most of these police officers that were suspected of being dirty and subsequently terminated have been tracked by the Juarez Municipal Police and the multi task force conducting an operation known as "Operación Conjunto Chihuahua", said Ciudad Juarez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz.

These are a lot of officers suddenly without a job and on the streets of Juarez desperate for a source of income. It's not easy finding a good paying job for anyone, yet alone for a police officer with especific skills not common in most professions.

"Most of the policemen who were terminated for failing the confidence exams left the city, but those who remained behind, have been monitored tracking their activities," said Mayor Ferriz.

Many of the media community were concerned that these unemployed police officers would find themselves working for the drug cartels that are more than happy to snatch corrupt officers to use in their battle against each other. This is a legitimate concern as it is widely known that the drug cartels are constantly recruiting police or military personnel because of their training, knowledge and expertise in the use of firearms.

One example was the arrest of a former municipal police officer who was arrested in March and who was one that had been terminated for failing the confidence exams. According to the official reports, Miguel Angel Delgado Carmona aka "El Chango" or simply "ape," was accused of committing 18 executions against members of the criminal organization "Gente Nueva" which belongs to the cartel "El Chapo" Guzman.

He is also credited to have participated in more than 80 murders in which his sole role was to dispose of the bodies.

It was reported that several of these crimes were committed when he was still an active member of the Ministry of Municipal Security.

Delgado Carmona was a "preventive agent" in this city for 10 years and was assigned to District Babicora.

And just recently in the northern part of the state of Michoacan the Mexican police arrested a former police officer Marcos Arturo Juárez Cruz, aka "El Chamuco" or otherwise "The Demon," who formed part of the drug cartel known as, "La Familia." "El Chamuco" was a state police officer between 2001 and 2007, a time in which the Secretary of federal Public Security (SSP) said that he provided support to the well armed Gulf cartel, and a group of assassins (sicarios) known as Los Zetas.

At that time the Gulf cartel was allied with "La Familia" in operations in Michoacan, but later they broke off their relationsship and are now rivals.

According to the SSP, "El Chamuco" was recruited to "La Familia" and quickly rose through the ranks within the drugl cartel for his "discipline, relationship with ranking officers and his negotiating skills."His salary was estimated to be 50,000 pesos per month (nearly $3,700 US dollars) plus expenses, a lot more of the basic salary of a Mexican police officer.

The SSP emphasizes that despite his youth, "El Chamuco" was well respected within the organization for his violent temper and coolness when killing his rivals.

"La Familia" is one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico, an organization that has forced the Mexican Government to concentrated a total offensive in recent months. That is the primary reason why these cartels seek members who have tactical police/military experience and also members that have relationships with police and military organizations.

Mayor Ferriz said that the "Operación Conjunto Chihuahua" does a good job keeping track of police officers that have been given their termination papers after failing the reliability tests.

"The municipality conducts surveillance on them, but more importantly the "Operación Conjunto Chihuahua" is tracking those who are more difficult to investigate," said Reyes Ferriz.

Some of the policemen who failed the exams were able to be placed in several companies by the Municipality, "so they would have a decent source of income," said the mayor, but could not say how many.

"We will continue to purge the bad elements from within the police department, and obviously we will provide all pertinent data of these people to the "Operación Conjunto Chihuahua" to enable them to follow up on these people, as has been done since October 17 when we terminated 334 members from the police department," said the mayor.

Yes, I am in agreement that it's essential to remove the corrupt elements from within the police ranks as soon as possible, otherwise any significant result in controlling this wave of violence and mayhem in the streets of Juarez will be a total failure. Results form these initatives will be slow coming and in the mean time we will continue to see the slaughtered of human bodies dumped on the city streets at a record number.

The only key element ovelooked by Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, who are supposedly attempting to wage a war against the organized crime, is the corrupt political machine that protects the criminal structure from top to bottom. That is truly what is needed for any meaningful eradication of the carnage that has been engrained way too long in the very fabric of the social norm in Mexico.

But that is a story for another time!

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