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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Torture Palaces: Elite Dungeons

Looking for "halcones" (lookouts), state police detain and torture motorcycle riders.

Rio Doce. 7-23-2012

Luis Fernando Najera

In Los Mochis, it's dangerous to be young and ride a motorcycle

He felt the blow when he was already on the ground. His cheeks were burning like crazy and a tactical boot was pressing down on his chest. The burning concrete made his skin sizzle, as if a piece of fresh, moist meat had fallen on boiling oil, but he couldn't complain because the barrel of a rifle was stuck in his mouth. Afterwards, he was lifted off the ground and another round of blows stunned him, almost to the point that he forgot who he was.

He managed to pay attention to what was happening when he heard his cousin's cries. His cousin, a minor, was in the grip of other ministerial policemen. The elite cops, the ones quartered in this area.

He's afraid, very afraid of telling his story. And he's got some pretty heavy reasons for that. The elites, after torturing him for almost twelve hours inside the walled yards of the Ministerial State Police, photographed him, they took his credentials and stole his cell phone, including his watch. Before they took him into a holding cell of the Municipal Police, the abusive sister agency of the Ministerial police, they showed him photographs of his wife and children, and they made a sinister promise: "If you talk or file a complaint against us, they die. We know where you live, cabron. So you know, you talk, you die."

But with fear and all, he still tells his story. His bosses, indignant, support him. Their support gives him courage. But he has conditions; no names, don't even mention his work place, because the cops kept everything. "They even took my belt and apron."

Juan, that's what we'll call him in this story, works two jobs to support his family. Under the sun, he's a construction worker, and at night, an all-around employee. That's why he's always busting his ass to keep up with the two work schedules.

On Thursday of last week, he was already late 40 minutes, time he planned to make up by working late, when he asked one of his teenage cousins for a ride. They both got on the motorcycle and took off from the west side of the city towards the first commercial district.

Near an auto parts store, the elites knocked them down off the bike, and the last thing he remembers about those few seconds is a metallic taste in his mouth.

Tied up, they drove them to the fortified Ministerial facilities and separated them. Him, they left under a tree and afterwards placed him against a wall, with his head stuck into his shoulders. They ordered him to close his eyes and used wide blindfolds to block his sight. Only his mouth and nose were left uncovered.

He let them lead him. He doesn't know what they made him lie on, whether it was the patrol vehicle's hood or a board, but he felt two cops sit on top of his body, one on both his legs, on his ankles, and the other on his genitals.

The first questions came: "Who's your boss? Who are you working as lookout for? What do you work at? Who did you steal those things from?" After listening to his answers, the elites weren't convinced, and told him he would be interrogated using the traditional methods for getting a statement. Suddenly, a lot of blows. First the head, then the stomach.

Annoyed, the cops increased the intensity of the torture, and made fun of him saying he couldn't take the heat.

Open your snout, ordered one of the belligerent cops. He was unable to do that. They opened it with a blow. He closed his mouth when they rammed the neck of a plastic bottle down his throat and squeezed it to force the water down. They wanted to drown him, but they weren't able to do it. More blows loosened his stomach.

A change in tactics: a sheet on his face, which was already half covered with the blindfold, and a plastic bag covering both. Water and more water. Again the beating, water and more water entering through his nose and mouth. Brief periods of unconsciousness then a violent wake up; he manged to survive that part of the torture.

Then came the steel drum: blindfolded, they lifted him in the air and put him in it, not once, but many times, so many that he lost count. They would only pull him out so he could breathe and, according to them, finger his boss, his organization, the lookout.

A thousand times he told them who he was, where he worked, but having taken his life by force, the elites didn't believe him. At that moment, they were gods and decided who was to live and who to die, because, in the end, the hoods prevented their identification, and, without registration numbers, nobody can identify the patrol vehicles. And, in case that happens anyway, they can claim that the vehicles were cloned, or better, that the incident was a mistake caused by the stress they, the cops, live under, they told him this when they were about to let him go.

These explanations, which prove the criminal conduct of the Elite Police, almost made Juan urinate and defecate in his pants.

Finally, they decide to let him go. And they tell him that he will be sentenced to death if he talks or denounces the incidents.

He's taken to the Municipal Police booking station. There, he admits that the blows he suffered were because he was drunk, the same reason he lost all his belongings. He's jailed, not a few hours, but almost a day. That night he pukes blood and all his body hurts. He knows he made it, for the moment, because a few yards from where he was, they are torturing another motorcycle rider, but in the municipal cells.

His cousin had it worse and he is almost dead, but from fear.

Days after they were tortured by the elites, Juan finds out from the newspaper that the body of an unidentified person was found near the Primero de Mayo community. Actually, he read, it was Juvencio Quiroz Ibarra, a 42 year old businessman, a resident of Colonia Scally, who liked to wear boots and "gotcha" pants that, at first glance, resembled "tactical" gear.The businessman was blindfolded, with the same ties and knots the elites used on him. And Juan trembles, he just trembles.

Juan's story is similar to the stories that five other employees in the same department store have told their managers. These managers have referred the cases to their superiors, because in their view, the police abuse may result in the death of their employees.

From admiration to hate

"I used to admire them, because the papers said they got it on with gunmen and paid killers; those guys have balls, I thought often, but now I don't think like that; what's more, I think that they deserve whatever the killers do to them, because these sons of bitches are animals, with their damned fear, their fucking hoods, in a bunch, without anything to identify them, they act like sons of bitches with you, with any poor bastard who doesn't have anybody to defend him. They fucked me over good, just because they can do it, but now I wish them death."

This is the way Ricardo talks, who works in another department store that has several branches in the city. 

The day his life got complicated, he had left work almost 60 minutes after midnight. He was riding his motorcycle home, praying he would not get robbed or that some reckless driver wouldn't run him over or that he would not get hit by some stray bullet.

"God heard my prayers and protected me, but he let out these blue and black uniformed sons of bitches," he says.

Going at less than 30 miles per hour, he slowed down his motorcycle when he saw the patrol vehicles. "You have to respect these guys because they lay it on the line", he thought, and he even remembers he nodded his head at them.

He doesn't know what triggered their rage, but, as if shot from a spring, they caught him. "They gave me a super beating, and they insisted that I was a lookout (halcon), and bam!, more blows. I thought I was in a safe house, but no, I was in the holding cells."

"The cells, the grass, the rocks, everything is from inside that place. And there's no arguing with them, because they brag they've got the support of their bosses, from the chief to the mayor."

"We can fuck over anybody we want, and what, dude? Not even your little lawyers can do anything to us."

That's what they told me and no choice but to believe them. But that's OK, dude, I thought they were good guys, I defended them, but I won't do that again. If somebody fucks them over, it's because they deserve it, and it's too bad, in their sin is their punishment."

Carrasco will be placed on the witness stand 

Made aware of the abuses of authority by the constant complaints by members of the city council, the mayor Zenen Aaron Xochihua Enciso stated that the chief of police will be called to appear before the city council to offer explanations to the city leaders.

"The Commission on Political Reconciliations has asked Carrasco to appear before them. We're organizing it and negotiating the terms for his appearance. We don't know whether it will be in private or in public. We'll know what kind of appearance it will be when we have an agreement, but it will not be soon because we have other priorities on the agenda," said the mayor in response to reporters' questions.

He recognized that council members of the opposition have felt uneasy with the chief of the Municipal Police for what they consider police abuses and excesses against the civilian public, mostly young people, and, in some cases, against the city leaders.

"It may be due to confusion," the Mayor offered, "but that should be explained by the chief himself to the complainants."

The operation against license plates

At the General Offices of the Municipal Police and Traffic, nobody will explain the operation against motorcyclists that is the basis for torturing civilians. The interim director, Jesus Carrasco Ruiz, refuses to see reporters because they make him uncomfortable and he chooses to hide in his brick and Sheetrock offices, flanked by police officers.

In their own headquarters, lower ranking commanders see in notebooks, recorders and cameras a case that involves terror, and they likewise flee. The secretaries have run out of explanations and don't know what to tell reporters when they come out and say, "He won't see you, he's got a lot of work."

Only the chief of the docket court, Juan Lopez Cardona, an administrative, not a political, authority, reveals that from July 6 to date they have brought in 55 motorcycles because they didn't have license plates. Nobody gets fined, but rather, the case is turned over to Traffic. Some of those units have been taken by ministerial (police).


  1. I feel sorry for the citizens of Mexico who can not arm themselves. This is exactly why the USA forefathers created the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms, so that they can protect themselves when the government can not. In the states where it is legal to carry a concealed pistol, the crime rates are lower than other states. It's not so easy to be a tough guy when the citizens are armed. Check out this old man shooting back at the bad guys.

  2. Mexico's Police are notorious in being blatant sadists as well as corrupt..! It dosn't matter if your a Federali,municipal or ministerial and there lies the problem. Imagine growing up in a country where you cannot go to the proper authorities for any kind of help or justice because you may be killed..? This makes Mexico ripe for a revolution which in most people's eyes is just around the corner. Sooner or later with all the guns and weapons available to the public, they are going to rise-up and deliver a revolution like they did 100 years ago. Every faction of Mexican society is fed-up with corruption and blatant abuse of authority as well as murders. A human in this day and age that has to live in fear will eventually snap and say fuck it; I'm going to die anyway I might as well take out as many as I can..! people are tired of living in Fear in the 21st century like it was the 1800's all over again when the Oligarcy ran Mexico.

  3. The only way to solve this problem is a revolution by the people. I agree with 6:42 AM there is no way this shit would happen in Canada or the USA where people have guns. If people are unarmed, they are unable to protect themselves from druggies, crooked cops, etc.

    Surely there must be one man in all of Mexico who can start a revolution. Once started it will mothball. This time Mexico should finish it correctly and don't stop until all these scumbags are brought to justice....a people's justice.

  4. you think the police are bad the soldiers are worst thats y everyone in Sinaloa respects chapo the midget chilango soldiers n police are nothing but some abusive fucks stealing, rape, tourture but when they go agaisnt el chapo they say pass sir we dont wanna die cowards cops whats the point of being a cop if you dont have balls

  5. The drug cartels ruined the love I had for my country at one time I couldint wait to return to mexico to the beautiful moutains we're as a kid I took care of my families goats and land now we cant even walk at night cannot walk with all my brothers for fear we might be mistaken for criminals the hopes and dreams I once had of returning to the the house my father and grand father were born in are lost mexico needs help for the future of our gente

  6. wow, thats terrible when as a citizen, not only do you have to live in fear of the criminial, hitmen and lowlifes, but you also have to be afraid of the very people that have sworn to protect and defend. At least with the bad guys you know where they stand. But with the cops, bunc of fucking cowards hiding behind shields, preying on the weak and the innocent

  7. It's not even about arming the citizens, it's about the goverment stepping up and doing the right thing: protect it's citizens. Yes here in the US we have corrupt politicians, yes there are the occasional cases of police brutality, but never to this fucking exteme where people are getting snatched and tourtured for no reason. Look at what happened in California, police shot an unarmed kid and there was a near fucking riot. Now the city goverment and law enforcemt are stepping up and taking care of the situation. In Mexico if his exact thing happened, the cops would just open fire on everybody present and absolutely nothing bad would happen to those officers. Yeah, maybe arming the citizines might work, but imagine if one citizen killed a cop in self defense, can you imagine the police force would do that poor person?? I shudder to thin. Right they're torturing and water boarding people for no reason, imagine what they would do if they ACTUALLY had a reason...........

  8. In my opinion crook politcians,judges, cops and army are worst then cartels..cause we know what drug dealers want MONEY AND POWER... Cops or military promise to protect and serve the community.. but in reality they just want that badge so there crimes can be legal.. Mexico seriously needs a law that allows citizen to carry weapons its there only chance to survive..

  9. For all those who tout gun control in the US, I always say, want gun control, go to Mexico, see how that works out for you. I feel so sorry for the Mexican people, they have no way to defend themselves. The cartels walk in, vacate whole towns, the people become an exodus to the cities where there are no jobs and live in abject poverty. The cartels control the countryside and keep increasing their domain both in land and for those that chose to remain, slave labor. Let these folks arm themselves for heavensakes! Yes, you will probably have some hot-headed cantina fights, and ejido uprisings will probably increase against government as well as cartel infringement of their autonomy and depletion of resources, but it is a small price to pay for the damage this one sided warfare is doing to the social fabric. I live in Mx most of the year, locally in an ejido. I too, see somekind of uprising coming. You can smell it.

  10. █ lito brito █July 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Sylvia Longmire is on the history channel right now talking about the Zetas and how they are killing Americans on American soil..really making the Zetaputoz look bad...more of this and there will be no more ignoring Mexico

  11. So if you have guns legalize in Mexico the problem stops? If you think that...YOU are brain damaged!!!! !

    1. It would certainly help. America has become a land of weak malcontents who are blindly searching for 'change' with no idea and no concept of the end results. People are messy animals who prey on one another. There will always be violence, and frankly I want a fighting chance to defend myself. You may be content to rely on 911, but I am not. In medieval times, I would have wanted to know how to use a sword. In modern times, I think it's wise to know how to use a firearm because without that knowledge, you are at the mercy of both the criminals and police...look at Mexico. When you sacrifice liberty and self reliance in the name of fear, you end up with a weak subservient public who are at the mercy of the state and those who choose to live outside of the law of the land.

  12. Its on going my uncle n cuzin were killed by zetas over a goat a fuking goat. My tio didnt want to get more so he stepped up and got shoot for it and my cuzin git shoot for cursing at them. Yes this didnt sit well with us. So we joined a gruop of people that can help us fight them back in tamps. Fuk the police and especially the soldiers here we turn to the people that atleast help CDG

  13. I hope there are people waiting to act. When it starts i WILL BE READY. we as mexicans have to go back and save our people. We need to get rid of all the corrupt politicians and police along with syndicatos and unions. Please be ready and willing to go fight..atte malcolm mex.

  14. @ 3:25. Thats really messed up what happened to your family. My uncle was gunned down by that coward el chaputo suckasses. He was helping a neighbor change his tire that was slashed by those cowards and they stopped to mess with that guy again. they started to cuss and insult that guy and he told them to leave him alone so one of them said he would educate him and them shot him three times in the head. at point blank and in cold blood. My uncle didnt even like guns or anything negative. All i know and have seen in chihuahua is those pieces of shit fucked everything up. May God damn those cowards. Everybody kisses those putos asses like they've met them or even know'em. In the US theres alot of people that have been effected by all this. And thats the fuckin truth. I see know honor killing for someone else and to people that havent done any harm. Its matter of time before he slips up and gets caught. FUCK SINALOA!!!

  15. I really feel and for that young man. He was trying to go to work and be responsible in a lawless dangerous environment.and was betrayed and tortured by the police force that he looked up to....well I wish there was a way I could send him money so he could buy some grenades to throw in some police cars of his choice....just to level out the playing field.

  16. Anonymous 12:41, very enlightning post, so your rational argument is??? Or is it just that anyone that does not agree with you is a "brain damaged"

  17. chapo wasnt born in los mochis......he was born in

  18. @ 1:22 am

  19. If Mexicans were legally allowed to own and use fire arms for self defense, those who prey on them be it the criminals or authorities would definitely not be as brazen with their incursions into neighborhoods and towns. As far as price goes, yes guns are expensive (sometimes) but people will find a way. Not only the poorest of the poor are being preyed upon. Extortion and murder happen at all levels of society in Mex. If people organized and fought back in the name of reclaiming their country, it may be surprising how effective they could be.

  20. getting wooped by the. police its rites of passage for any Mexican youth.. we all been there. fukedup it happans to innocents some times and some puercos (pigs) do take it to far. there is also good puercos that are freaked out can't blame them. this is a war , act accordingly


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