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

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mexican Army takes over Tamaulipas Border Police Departments

Photo: Archives
By Dudley Althaus
Houston Chron

Mexican troops have taken over the policing of the largest cities in the state bordering south Texas as officials try once again to fix their corruption-crippled municipal forces.

Some 2,800 soldiers, bolstered by state police units, replaced most civilian officers in 22 Tamaulipas cities and towns, including Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Matamoros and smaller border towns as well as Tampico and the state capital, Ciudad Victoria.

The soldiers will stay while the municipal officers are vetted for possible participation in crime and corruption, and will either be fired or reinstated, officials said.

In addition, three new battalion-strength army bases are being established in Ciudad Mier, an embattled border town upriver from McAllen; San Fernando where gangsters have killed hundreds of innocent migrants and others in the past 10 months; and in Ciudad Mante.

“The army is playing a supporting role,” said Col. Ricardo Trevilla, a defense ministry spokesman. “It's not taking control.”

More than 1,000 people have been killed in Tamaulipas since early last year, when fighting broke out between the so-called Gulf Cartel narcotics smuggling gang and its former enforcers, Los Zetas. Officials also accuse the Zetas of massacring 72 mostly Central American migrants in San Fernando last August and murdering nearly 200 other innocents, mostly travelers passing through the town, since last fall.

Bought off or terrorized into compliance by the gangsters, local police forces in the state have been repeatedly purged and rebuilt in recent years, to little effect. The military's temporary assumption of local police duties was agreed to in February by Tamaulipas' governor and President Felipe Calderón.

The takeover comes as activists press Calderón to withdraw the military from the government's crackdown on the gangs, citing human rights abuses by soldiers. Calderón insists the troops will stay as long as local and state forces aren't up to the task.

Mexican soldiers and marines have been clashing with gangsters in Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo León state, which includes Monterrey, for much of the past 18 months. Troops this year have arrested entire police forces in the Monterrey area for collaborating with the criminals.

Soldiers killed more than 600 alleged gangsters in Tamaulipas alone since late 2006, including some 230 this year, the newspaper Milenio reported this week. In all, soldiers have killed nearly 1,700 people across Mexico since Calderón deployed them against the gangsters upon taking office in December 2006.

“Do you seriously think that withdrawing the federal forces, which in many areas are the only ones fighting the criminals, will end the violence?” Calderón asked in a meeting with activists Thursday. “Doesn't it seem difficult to believe that they will simply stop kidnapping, extorting and killing?”

For a complete list of Tamaulipas local Police departments please read: Valley Central News


  1. The Calderon 'cure' might well become much worse than even the disease now is, as hard as that might be for many (especially among those friends of ours on the BB Right) to imagine...

    'The takeover comes as activists press Calderón to withdraw the military from the government's crackdown on the gangs, citing human rights abuses by soldiers. Calderón insists the troops will stay as long as local and state forces aren't up to the task.'

    It is wrong to just sluff off this mention in passing of Mexican military human rights abuses. The multiple murders by the Mexican military are real and happened and it is not just 'abuse'. It is murder, disappearances, robberies, torture, and rape, also.

    To note also, there is a drug trafficking problem in Guatemala and there we have a military that managed to murder off several hundred thousand Guatemalans in the near past. Same in Salvador and Honduras, too, though the scale of slaughter was not quite that high as it was in Guatemala.

    I get the distinct impression, though, that the Anglo Borderland Beat Right Wingers readers and writers don't really care much for us talking about the possible negative future for Mexico of innocent lives being sacrificed to the tune of possibly tens of thousand more.... It will all be 'collateral damage' as far as they are concerned, which is not much at all.

  2. This seemed really strange to me. I mean, did this not need to be done 18 months ago. I have several questions about this. The international media has been all over this. Not the US media as we all know, it does not publish Mexico news because it does not support the "right" agenda and the media in the US is owned by the "right." Did enough publicity occur internationally that they had to address this?

    Second, the Mexican Government has always supported a chosen cartel. Until recently Sinaloa was primary, but the CDG was supported by them also. Have the Zetas gained enough headway in that war to make it necessary for total government support against them? Or could the Zetas have become the chosen and is this to clear the way for them? We have seen recent evidence that the Mexican Army was assisting the Zetas! Or last and more probable, has the Mexican Army become a Mega Cartel and wants the whole district to run it's confiscated drugs to the US without sharing the wealth with a cartel as it has done in the past.

    There is no doubt that the state and local governments in that state are corrupt beyond repair. Why is it just now being recognized and addressed? It most certainly is the "most failed state." Why is this action just now occurring? It seems so political. What is the real purpose? Was the PRI getting a strong base due to lack of federal support in the crime riddled state? LOL. or did Cauldron just now realized that Tamaulipas is a failed state? How many different times over the last 5 years did Calderon assist with cleansing state and local governments in Juarez? Three, or four, failing miserably each time. But all the sudden, cleansing Tamaulipas is a priority. Calderon hates the northern states of Mexico and has "0" regard for the people of those states. This just smells real funny to me!!!!!!!!

    @ Ardent, you make some very good points.


  3. Ard your racism is showing again...and the Army has always been abusive. Since the 1850s they haven't defended Mexicans against anyone but other Mexicans. And they are soldiers, not police.

    But which army should Calderon use? The good army or the bad army? Or should he just go with the muni cops which would be the same as giving in to the criminals which is what you would prefer anyway, no?

    I don't know what you expect Mexican authorities to do. You didn't like the PRI and you were glad when Fox was elected. You wanted AMLO but Calderon beat him out. So we're stuck with Calderon. PAN is hard-core Catholic and very conservative but Calderon's doing the only thing he can do except hand the country over to crime. He can't possibly invite any kind of noticeable foreign help because of Mexican fixation on sovereignty and he has a totally dysfunctional justice system to go with the corrupt police forces.

    Don't worry about the anglo right wingers, I'm sure they will chime in. They're not reticent about expressing themselves - especially when you post something to stir them up.


  4. I dont UNDERSTAND why people think this WAR is so bad!! YES there are DEATHS, KILLINGS, but this is the ONLY way to stop this.

  5. This is not a conservative liberal issue unless Conevervative means order and function and liberal means chaos and malfunction. Calderon is doing what must be done. You can talk about how bad the Pres is,the Military, the cast system,piss and moan all day,the bottom line Mexico must restore order,rule of law create functioning govt institutions, its like putting water ad fertalizer on a withering plant. Once these things are done all aspects of life in Mexico will improve. Race sex wealth are meaningless,the entire society will improve.

  6. While I do have some sympathies with the anti-war, peace movement, I don't think anyone's going to take them seriously until they offer tangible solutions to the drug war violence besides just federal troop withdrawal. In my opinion they should turn their efforts into pushing for drug legalization (turning it into a health issue rathar than solely a security issue). And once drugs are fully legalized and brought into the market (taxable revenues, real job creation, etc), the president should maintain the high level of security until things stabilize. I do think the huge spike in kidnappings & extortions are a direct result of Calderon's SUCCESS in impeding the cartel's ability to get their product delivered north of the border. They had to resort to other criminal activities to make up for the loss in revenue. So to me the legalization route is, whether we like it or not, the ONLY viable option to bring back a level of "normality and peace" to Mexico. We must remember that, in the final analysis, the drug cartels are BUSINESSES, not rebel movements or political entities. Move them into mainstream society by first pushing for the legalization of drugs in both the USA and Mexico (I imagine the European Union would be more open to legalization so they may actually lead the way). We are all between the devil and the deep blue sea ... as the old saying goes ...

    You can call me PABLO, an American who lives in Nuevo Leon, Mexico and otherwise wishes to remain anonymous

  7. hmm you say "Not the US media as we all know, it does not publish Mexico news because it does not support the "right" agenda and the media in the US is owned by the "right."".
    if you think a lie will help get people to listen to what you are saying you are wrong. It just makes me skip over any information you think you have to offer. I have an irritating problem that keeps me surfing between channels and the most frequent source of cartel info has been from so called "right" owned media.

  8. SERIOUSLY??? the media is owned by the right? Have you lost your mind? I agree with a lot, but the US lame stream media is owned, operated and produces purely liberal bias that got the most left wing radical President the US HAS EVER seen! One outlet is owned by a right winger. Even the supposed "centrist" NPR is a left wing liberal outlet. Get real. If the right owned the media. Obama would not be in power!

  9. Is lazca dead or not what the fuck this is big news and I haven't heard Shit new

  10. Is there no honest moral leadership/managment in Mexico? I thought I was cynical and disillusioned until I read the posts where many of you beileve every political govt police military you name it , they are all crooked as hell, thats a hard pill. I know some really nice people in Mexico,I think??

  11. How many conservative journalist are there compared to liberal? Have you ever been around the big league universitys in the US the profs are from Mars,young people come out of univ life warped,it takes them 10 yrs to get their heads out of their asses, they vote during those 10 yrs. Higher education in most places is packed with dreamers and theorists, the rest of us are working our butts off making money paying taxes and being told how to live by intellectual academics who haven't done a GD thing in there whole lives. True knowledge and wisdom do not come out of a book,you have to live it.This mess in Mexico can only be solved with a complete overhaul of the country and a lot of people will die because there is a shortage of clean honerable law enforcment, and the Mexican culture is crooked by nature.

  12. Silly stuff from a US Far Righter once again...

    'the US lame stream media is owned, operated and produces purely liberal bias that got the most left wing radical President the US HAS EVER seen!'

    Actually, much of the liberal community is beginning to realize that Barack Obama is a centrist at best, and is not even liberal. Some even believe that his Administration is the 3rd term of Bushism even, with all the foreign policy being essentially more war making same ol' same ol'.

    And real Leftists (not liberals) can't stomach the guy at all, or his political party, The unDemocratic Party.

    As to the American media somehow being liberal biased or even Left, God Forbid!...???? The media in the US is owned by giant corporate conglomerates as a whole, so how is that supposed to produce some sort of liberal bias, unless Anonymous 4:40 believes somehow that US corporations are of and for the political Left????

    The press in Mexico are similarly more Right Winger than anything else, and are also basically made up of corporate conglomerate chains both in TV and print. Not Leftists or Leftism or Socialism.

    Anonymous 1:29, you say several things about my opinions that simply are not much true at all...

    'I don't know what you expect Mexican authorities to do, (Ardent). You didn't like the PRI and you were glad when Fox was elected. You wanted AMLO but Calderon beat him out. So we're stuck with Calderon.'

    First all, I didn't like the PRI dictatorship and that is certainly true. But unlike much of Mexico, I never saw Fox as anything more than the person used to setup, by the PRI, a supposed 2-corporate party system of rule inside Mexico, similar as to what they saw the US as already having.

    Let's be even more concrete here. The Democratic Party under Bill Clinton's presidency bailed out the PRI dictatorship economically back in the '90s, and the condition set to get this money was that the PRI had to accept the 'gift' only by allowing another political party to share power with the PRI hackocracy from time to time in Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. The US wanted its junior partner, Mexico, to have a lot more international legitimacy than it had under the one party PRI dictatorship.

    As to me wanting AMLO to win? And supposedly he didn't???? Actually, AMLO would have been a pretty safe thing for the US corporate government to work with but they didn't want democracy in Mexico. Because of that, they supported the Mexican elite establishment in its second robbery of a PRD presidential victory, by pretending that nothing fraudulent had happened, though it had. The first time they robbed Cardenas of the PRD the presidency, as the US government sat by silently.

    And finally, nobody is 'stuck with Calderon', since he's out of there next year already. And he's being given the boot along with the PAN, too. Though, the Mexican establishment will bring back the PAN once again in the future, no doubt. They, like the US Establishment, now are totally into Tweedle Dee/ Tweedle... You Are All Poorer Dummies RULE ...for falling for our corporate game, see-saw, you have no play in our playground of phony pretend monied 'democracy', Common People.

  13. I think it is time for our "leader" step up and do something! How can he visit El Paso and say that our borders are secure when there are shots being fired in Mexico close to where he is?! Terrorist organizations are already dealing with the drug cartels in Mexico! That should make Mexico a priority for us to get involved and clean house there rather than Libya! If millions of "migrant workers" are able to enter the US don't you think that terrorists are able to do the same? Our Governor has attempted to discuss the border violence with obama and you see how that went. Wake up obama!!!!

  14. Ardent, your ad hominem attacks undermined your points, some of which are valid.

    What I think so many fail to realize about Americans, is that NONE of us want the Mexican people to suffer through this kind of terror. And many of us want Mexico to be successful, for their own sake.

    Talk to any Mexican who has made his or her way to the USA. If the opportunity were there in Mexico, almost none would come here to work...and now be secure. This is an economic issue, which no one, left or right, seems to want to address.

    Finally, no one, left or right, wants to deal with the consistent human rights abuses going on, not only in Mexico proper by the military and police, but in immigrants attempting to come to the USA. Women, almost without exception, are raped by coyotes, so much so, abortive contraceptives are sold along with water and food for the trip.

    The whole problem with this debate, all around, is the "meta" level talk without thinking about how that filters down to the Mexican people. They are the by-product of years of poor political leadership, the rich get richer, and the rest get shafted. And now the cartels, are shafting the people even more.

    When will it end? Never. Don't fool yourself. It may get better, but it will never end. Talk to my father-in-law about growing up in Torreon and a mayor got rid of the organized crime. When he did, he also got rid of the money for the local merchants. He was voted out of office and a corrupt mayor was put back in, and the town had money again. That was in the 50's.

    The fact is that Mexico needs a corrupt government that works for the people in some sense, and hopefully they will have that again. The next election may bring hope.


  15. got any solutions there ardulo...

    i mean other than blaming the puppet government of the USA and ignoring the real know who i mean don't you ?..shilly...

    and don't trot out the old education/ economic opportunities saw..i mean a way to slow the collapse..and reverse the situation in Mexico TODAY...and no personal attacks ...

    how about it ..suggest a solution for a change

  16. Yeah, Brito. It sure would be nice if we could do something about that damn Israel. (Just trying to stay on your good side here, Brito.)

    And Churrito, I think that you are exaggerating some here, which seems to be the BB virus to do so... since it almost always seems to happen when the stories get to flowing online.

    'Women, almost without exception, are raped by coyotes, so much so, abortive contraceptives are sold along with water and food for the trip.'

    Yes, some women do get raped but it's not like it is every single one that makes the trip does. Just saying.....

    I do agree with you on this one though...

    'If the opportunity were there in Mexico, almost none would come here to work... ....This is an economic issue, which no one, left or right, seems to want to address.'

    So, Brito, all I can say to you is that It is the economy that has to be addressed in Mexico. Hard work is poorly paid in Mexico and crooks at the top all around make off like bandits. Hey, many of them are! Mexico has to change that, and we have to change the same situation inside the US, though our crooks have a whole lot more of OUR money they are playing around with.

  17. @ Briiiiiito!

    .i thought you would find this interesting. It is a tweet from Calderon after he met with the poet (earlier this week)

    "They say that everything is the government's fault for sending the army to combat the criminals. That premise is wrong," Calderon said via Twitter. "There is not violence because there are federal forces in place. It is the opposite: the federal forces are there because there is violence."

    Calderon also mentioned the need to fortify institutions, such as police departments.

    "To reconstruct institutions, we have to purge and strengthen police, prosecutors, judges, in all of the states and at the federal level"

    Also...they are building huge new barracks from the ground up..3 in Mata alone, so sound like they plan on a presence for a long while.

  18. Nobody is arguing against having a strong police presence where there is a problem with the cartels. Far from that! Still, Calderon and many here at BB act as if this were the case though, Buela. Why? In my opinion I think that they simply need to set up a false argument for them to attribute to their opponents that oppose this militaristic mentality of Calderon and the US government. And then they huff and puff and knock the strawman down, unlike what they are able to do with the actual cartels.

    However, Calderon has lost his case in favor of more 'war' with much of the general public who knows that his words are one thing and his own actions are another thing entirely different. There is a lot of game playing by him going on and the public knows that by now.

    Calderon and his military abandoned entire sections of Tamaulipas, for just one example of his game playing, as the government and military favored turning over whole villages and small towns to become free fire battle zones for the cartels to think that they were battling each other for permanent control over turf. Caldron's attitude was that the government would just stand by, talk tough, do nothing, and let the cartels kill each other off! Yes, they did a lot of killing, and the public suffered from this. And Calderon kept the military's casualty figures down low. But the cartels are still out there operating.

    I mention Tamaulipas because this state was victim of this governmental strategy the worst, but this seemed to have happened in state after other state of Mexico besides just here on the Tex-Tamaulipas Border region.

    Yes, Calderon can talk pretty about 'fortifying institutions' and so on, but his record has exposed him as being much a fraud when it comes to actually doing such. People in my family whom I know personally, wonder just exactly where did Calderon pull his troops to when the local bloodshed began to happen big time? Calderon has no answer for them at all. He simply has a lot of hot air and bluff.

    The bluff is in the idea that the Mexican military is finally NOW winning, when in fact it is not. Nobody really thinks that the body counts have become a thing of the past. The blood flows here, there, and then moves on. to other areas...

    This US military view of the battle zone is one that 'we' will seemingly 'win' in one country just to find that the same issue crops up again in another 2 0r 3 and the problem has actually worsened, not gotten any better! Meanwhile, the body count made up of 'collateral damage' goes on and on and on.

  19. @ churrito

    Ad hominem attacks? Really? Where? Did you think you sound intelligent using big words? You should learn what it means before you use " big words" since you only have a 3rd grade education. ( that my friend, is an ad hominem example. I see no examples in ardent's post)

  20. Hola Ardent!
    I see the beat goes on Ardent...:-)
    Actually my little comment was not meant to take a position on military presence, or to engage in the pros and cons of Calderon's actions. I was more impressed with the reason for the presence, also noticed the timing, directly subsequent to his meeting with the peace movement leaders. Additionally, catching my interest is the fact that many new barracks are being constructed, most likely for the long haul. I have to give you kudos, you are absolutely 100% correct about how they abandoned Tamps in the past. Each time the big promise, then when the press leaves so goes the military. Mier has never been secured; past behavior is a great indicator of future behavior. However, I will disagree w/you a bit in that I feel Durango has been the greatest victim of this practice. Tamps a close second.
    I have not been a big fan of Calderon, but I think his actions have been well intended, my beef is that his plan was proven to be ineffective long ago, yet he continues seemingly without a Plan "B". But for anyone to say that withdrawal of the military will result in elimination of violence, they are; A) wrong and B) ignorant of the facts. This is a different war in Mx than existed in 2006. A discussion for another day.
    You know I have expressed my belief that in order to win this war one of the essential components is to develop municipalities into strong, capable well equipped entities, minus the acute corruption that is rampant in the border states and in all the cities within those states. Since I have been logging on to BB, I have long suggested that the military take over operation of those municipalities, temporarily. It will take a long haul however. Secondly, federal & state appropriations ( subsidies); is imperative to bring equipment, training, communication, attractive pay and benefits to the municipalities in order for them to reject corruption and function within a healthy rule of law. After achieving this goal, they should still be under the guidance of either federal or state. Leaving the cities to their own resources has rendered them easy prey for cartels.
    A good place to start IMO…of course as always my dos centavos..Buela

  21. Ardent reminds me of Al Gore. just saying..............

  22. A lot of bluff just like the blowhard ardent.

    Have you seen Presunto Culpable? Are you helping them?

    No? Then shut up windbag.


  23. Buela, you presented a damn reasonable plan of action and a reasoned post. I agree that the resources are just not there in small rural towns to battle it out all alone with national and regional cartels that move in on them. They do need the back up of NON-CORRUPTED State and Federal people.

    That's the big catch though, Buela. The state and feds are often times themselves deeply corrupted, and not just through the cartels but most often from big money people and party hacks as well. In Mexico, it's not just cartelistas that order hits on innocent people. Having bigger government bodies overlook smaller ones does not necessarily lead to overcoming corruption. In fact, state government in many regions of Mexico is a bastion of corruption.

    As to you, Mr. 1:17, so what is it with you and the Presunto Culpable film fetish you have? And what is it with you silly question to me asking if 'Are you helping them?, (Ardent)' You have to be a little more coherent than that, '1:17'. Am I helping who? And, Yes, I have seen the larger part of Presunto Culpable. So what?

  24. Hola Ardent..

    Absolutely that IS the big catch. You and I have spoken about the rampant corruption that permeates every aspect of Mexican government and agencies. I, in fact, do not slam the culpa on the narcos, they of course are responsible for their actions, but I blame the corruption for the existance of the MDC-MOCs. They are opportunists a manifestation of a corrupt governmentthat is and always has been Mexico. That said...corruption is not a one size fits all sort of deal. At its worse, and in totality, one need not look further than municipalities. Its a given. State level government agencies would be mid range and federal level being the least corrupt, still corrupt, still permeates all agencies and wide spread but is the "best".

    To began with the frontera and implementing the actions we have dicussed, is at least, feasible. Perhaps it may create enough change as to eventually deem it a success. A comprehensive plan would have to include things such as rotation duty, polygraphs and drug testings. I realize this is expensive but it is not necessary to implement this in all the 31 states, more like 8 or 9 in key areas.

    If something is not successful we can look forward to the frontera becoming ungovernable like Michoacán.

    But Ardent, just my dos centavos!!

  25. Well ardent you totally reveal yourself in one post. You've seen the larger part of it - what the fuck does that mean? You looked at the website? Help someone try to change the Mexican justice system dummy. Like Roberto Hernandez. Who do you think? Help as in help, assist, get involved. You think posting on this blog counts for something?

    "So what?" You haven't seen it and you don"t get it. You're a bag of hot air. Completely self absorbed. No one listens to you at home so you get it out on blogs. That's the reason you write provocative posts - any attention is better than none at all. For you it's not about Mexico, it's not about politics, it's about ardent trying desperately to be recognized.

  26. dang ardnarc...
    burn...and it wasn't even me this time....mebbe you shouldn't be so dismissive of other peoples opinions...maybe you should be will hurt ...but you can do it

  27. I hear all that you're saying, Buela. However, I'm not sure that many would agree completely with your statement that the Federal Mexican government is any less corrupt than many Mexican local and state government operations. I always remember the plumbers Rule #1 here. Shit simply always runs down hill. I believe that's the case most certainly in Mexico-US governmental relations, and also directly inside Mexico, too.

    And, Dear Anonymous Super Flamer One....? You see one flick that states the rather obvious, that the Mexican judicial system is fugged up entirely, so you think that somehow justifies flaming away at me nonstop? And here is about the only semi real content I have read in all your most recent flame throwing discharge my way...

    'Help someone (Ardent) try to change the Mexican justice system dummy.'

    And just what the hell is that supposed to mean, Anonymous? What exactly are you doing to help someone trying to change the Mexican justice system, since you offer me the ever so sage advice that I should do such....? Please enlighten us here.

  28. It is just my experience Ardent.
    They day I feel that all is hopeless, and all is corrupt, is the day I get out of dodge..

    But then again, maybe that is why I hold on to the belief?

    Paz Ard...

  29. Well at least I did not know about the Sandy Hook's strategic location near the entrance to New York Bay. There are other interesting information like these in their website military bases by state by state.


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