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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

They were Students not Sicarios in Monterrey

Remember that story we reported on where the military got in a shootout with armed sicarios near a prestigious university (Monterrey Institute of Technology) in Monterrey. The Army was chashing three vehicles, including one armored, from where armed men threw grenades. The vehicle was stopped at one of Monterrey Tech’s entrances and a shootout ensued.

On Friday, the official statement from the Mexican Army and state officials had mentionedand that two gunmen were killed during a gunfight, after they tried to evade the military by jumping over a fence at one of university's entrances.

Well it turns out that is not true.

The two victims that were killed by the military were graduate students, not suspected drug traffickers.

Monterrey Tech said on Saturday that the both persons killed were students with excellent academic records, Jorge Antonio Mercado Alonso, 23, studying a Masters degree and Javier Arredondo Verdugo, 24, studying a PhD. Monterrey Tech rector Rafael Rangel said in a news release that both students had scholarships for academic excellence.

Nuevo Leon state Attorney General Alejandro Garza y Garza says the victims were studying engineering at the Monterrey Tech University. Garza y Garza said late Saturday that army officials mistakenly told state prosecutors two suspected gunmen died in Friday's gunbattle.

Jorge Antonio’s mother, Rosa Elvia Mercado Alonso, asked the federal authorities to clarify that his son and his friend were not hitmen, and that were excellent students.

There was no official reaction from the Mexican Army or the state government after the Monterrey Tech statement.
There is not enough information to make any time of determination at this time, but more information is necessary. We were not there and we don't know what happened, but at minimum an investigation by a impartial entity is in order. To see if the military acted properly in their engagement and to see if there was a cover-up after the fact (or was it done during reporting). This is essential to build on the public's trust and prevent this from happening again.

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