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

Friday, March 18, 2016


Posted by DD
Borderland Beat has covered the saga of Nestora Salgado extensively in past issues.  If you will type in "nestora" on the BB search box you will find probably 30 stories that are about her or mention her.  Because of that abundance of material in the archives of BB, I will go into a great lot of detail about her past and what she did in Olinala.  
We have been so disappointed in the past when we have been told by the Mexican officials that Nestora would be released and then our hopes dashed when she wasn't, I am posting these as proof that she has been released this morning.  When I finish writing the story later today I will add more text (and hopefully video )telling her story.

Nastora Salgado leaving prison after judge ordered her release (photo from KOMO TV

A supporter and fellow member of the Community Police removing her handcuffs (screen capture of video on Twitter)
Free at Last

Nestora waves a rifle and vows to continue fighting for justice as she leaves the Tepepan prison after courts threw out charges of homicide and kidnapping, in Mexico City, Friday, March 18, 2016. Salgado (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Nestora smiling holding a caricature of herself as she leaves prison on a bus.

First Interview after release below

Who is Nestora Salgado?

Nestora Salgado is native born  Mexican, born and raised in the small pueblo of  Olinala in the mountains of Guerrero state.  She married at age 14 and had 2 children while living there.  At age 20 she migrated to the United States and settled in the Seattle area.  She remarried there and obtained her US citizenship and is now a dual citizen of both countries. 

She made trips back to Olinala during  the 10 years she lived in the Seattle area (the last home there being in Renton, a small town about 40 miles from Seattle).   On those trips home she became more and more distressed about what she saw happening in her home town.

She told KOMO News (who sent a crew to interview that was held the day before the Judge ordered her release this past Wed.), " nobody in the government cares about the massacres and injustice that the indigenous people in the small towns in Mexico deal with today, adding that media only shows a fraction of the crimes."

One of Salgado's daughters, Graciel Rodriguez, explains why her mom made such a risky sacrifice:

"When the violence started happening, when there were kidnappings every day, when there was murders, when there was extortion, all these things," Rodriguez said. "It broke her heart."

Nestora made the decision to stay in her hometown to help organize the Community Police of Olinala.  "I couldn't be indifferent to what was happening with my neighbors and the people of Olinalá (…) The injustices of the criminals were everyday things; we could no longer work, travel, start a small business, send our kids to school in peace, or go to the town center to have an ice cream," the U.S. citizen detailed in a letter. She also said there were murders, kidnapping, including school children, both boys and girls from the ages of 10 to 12 and the girls were often returned pregnant. 

She walked up and down the street with a megaphone exhorting the people to come out and organize to stand up to the criminals. 

I just wanted some peace for my people. And to organize ourselves , it is our right as indigenous people (under the Constitution) .and community policing was endorsed by the Governor under Law 701 of the State of Guerrero. So it was that I became the coordinator of the Community Police Olinalá - for me, for my daughters, for my people, for my country.

The towns people called her "Commandant", but in reality she was the chief of police.
In the beginning, Governor Ángel Aguirre provided them with two vans, economic support, and official recognition as community police officers. In a year of work,  90% of the crime rate was reduced, she said.

Why was she arrested?

According to Nestora  on a radio show Aristegui Today before she was arrested, she was offered 7 million pesos to "step aside", not try to "grow" the Community Police and not handle any "important" cases.  They also asked her to release the town official she had arrested for stealing a cow.  They even sweetened the pot with an all expense paid for her whole family vacation to Acapulco.   She refused.

She had became one of the faces of a broader movement of citizen self defense militias that sprung up that same year throughout the state in response to the failure of the authorities to contain the extreme violence of local drug gangs.

The day the guerrerense Nestora Salgado was arrested in Olinalá , the then state governor Angel Aguirre had changed his tune and  told reporters: "She is locked up because she was a threat to social peace".

Salgado García was detained on August 21 of 2013  in a military-police operation, in which 12 other members of indigenous police departments of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC) in the mountain region in Guerrero were arrested.

A group of about 20 soldiers and military police swooped down her while she was at a gas station.  She demanded they show her an arrest warrant because as far as she knew she had not been charged with anything.   There was no warrant because it did not exist. 

Her sister, Cleotilde Salgado, told a press conference that  "They took her and we didn't know about it until five days later, when we found out that she was in Nayarit.".  

After arriving at Nayerit she was finally told the she was charged with kidnapping one individual based based on the complaint of alleged kidnapping by  the town prosecutor (he was the one arrested and a nephew of former deputy in the state legislature, Armando Patrón Jiménez, who was arrested by the Olinalá Community Police on August 15, 2013, for stealing a cow and for being presumably linked to a double murder.  He was seen walking away from the scene of the double murder with a cow which belonged to one of the murdered men.

Then the charges started pilling up.  First to kidnapping 6 girls who had been seen talking to some drug and arms traffickers in the village.  Nastora said a group of townspeople who had heard they were selling drugs had cornered the girls  and she intervened to avoid anyone getting hurt and held the girls  for the Community Council to determine their fate.Then the number of alleged kidnappings increased to 47.  Nestora said in a letter that she sneaked out of prison for publication:

"I am writing from prison, where I am detained for 30 months, for an alleged kidnapping that never happened. I, like many political prisoners in the country, I enclosed by fighting for peace and justice, this one is a real kidnapping."
Nestora thinks that possibly the success of the Community Police in running the narcos out of town and the dramatic drop in crime may have been the cause of the state arresting her  betting that her confinement will serve as a warning to those who "rise up against such injustice."  . Salgado's defense attorney says an ex-governor of the state of Guerrero, along with his attorney general have detained several community police members in small towns to -- according to many who live there -- send a message of intimidation to other groups rising up.

"The government does not like what we were doing, much less when we started to denounce public officials and authorities for committing crimes, often involved with organized crime." says Salgado. 

The authorities appeared to be following a similar strategy in their efforts to contain the power of the self defense groups  who also rose up in neighboring Michoacán in 2013, by detaining the leaders who were most critical of the government.   Although the Community Police and authentic self-defense groups are not legally the same creatures, they are kissing cousins.  They are both made up of brave citizens who want to fight crime and corruption. in their towns. 

What has she endured while in prison for the past 2 1/2 years.

For the first 17 months she was held in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison.  In her words "as if I were a dangerous animal," without medical attention [she suffers pain from a back injury], with scarce visits from her family and unauthorized to receive mail or newspapers and magazines.

Her lawyer said she didn't have access to clean water or medical treatment (a bad back from a previous car accident)

"They want to break me," Salgado García said

" I want to report that that [Tepic] prison is a concentration camp. In no way does it achieve social reintegration, as they call it. I was very repressed, isolated for 17 months. They wanted to finish me off. Drive me crazy, but they failed. I spent all those months in that prison without combing my hair. I didn’t have the right to either a hairbrush or a comb."

After severe decline in her health and a several week hunger strike she was moved to a less high security prison in Mexico City.

Why was she released?

WHO KNOWS.  The judge ordered her immediate release on Thursday night at 11:30 PM,  March 17 after a hearing and cleared her of all charges.. 

We may never really know.   Remember this is Mexico..  We are not likely to see any of the court records (as if they would tell us anything).

There have been hundreds of demonstrations by her supporters demanding justice for her and other political prisoners.  But those have been of questionable affect in previous cases.

There was a  2015 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned the conditions she was being held in. This year, the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's five-member panel stated that she was a victim of arbitrary and illegal arrest and detention and ordered that she be freed and even compensated for wrongful detention.  But those are not binding orders on Mexico.

Even though she is a US citizen the US govt. has seemed reluctant to apply pressure in her case.  That was until Rep. Adam Smith of Seattle took up her cause and joined the chorus demanding justice and due process for Salgado.  Whatever the United States can do to pressure the Mexican government to force her release, we're going to do," said Rep. Adam Smith.   Perhaps with the US govt. now taking an interest, combined with the International Pressure is what got her released.

I think a major factor the Mex.  govt. may have considered that if she did another hunger strike and her health deteriorated again to the point where she died she would become a martyr.  They probably felt that Mexico didn't need another martyr. 

What are her plans for the future?

First she will travel to the United States to address her health problems.

But, 'I cannot abandon my people':she will return to her fight for justice, knowing she may not make it alive this time.

"Now more than ever I cannot abandon my people," Salgado said.

At a press conference held today after her release Nestora said;

"We are missing 500 political prisoners, and I am going to fight to get them out ... I'm going to manage the release of my colleagues. Wherever I might have to go to put a stop to it, there I'll be, because I am with you in your struggle and all the struggles of the people."

Salgado also sent a message to President Enrique Peña Nieto:

    "Tell the señor that he might respect our people and our Community Police, the pueblo does not defend criminals, and I ask support for our indigenous peoples."

When asked by KOMO if she was happy to be set free;

"I wish I could say I was happy, but I'm not -- not yet," Salgado said.

She knows even if she is free , many others like her are still imprisoned illegally in her state, and that is why she plans to go back to her fight against injustice and corruption in Mexico.



  1. A smidge of faith restored in the Mexican Government, Yes!

    1. No faith on the "mexican government", this is like giving you back 2 cents after they robbed you of 100.00 pesos and fingered you...
      --but if the 43 ayotzinapos dead carcasses were returned by the mexican government... or preferably alive, like they were taken, then I would say they got back, but that would not restore my faith on the pinchi priismo pendejo one little bit...

  2. And so it goes that for all our cynicism she's finally free at last. Quiovo cabrones! Let's just hope no further charges can be brought forth. - El Sol Perdido

    1. Well she is free because of the political pressure out of Seattle Washington...if I was on her shoes I would get out of mexico asap...

    2. 6:11
      The with house is in Maryland. Actually the white house is in "District of Colombia" it's pretty much a huge ghetto except Capitol Hill.
      Seattle is in Washington state but the white house isn't there
      We get what you mean but I wanted to point out the geographical difference.

    3. 7:56
      Please go back to sleep, fool !!

    4. Yeah Mex government probably in a quandary over that 1.She's American citzen but also Mexican citizen.Dr. Mireles lived in US for quite some time.Is he also US citizen too?

    5. According to the geopolitics of drug trafficking, Washington DC (the District of Columbia), IS indeed a district of Colombian drug traffickers from the Republic of Colombia in SouthAmerica

  3. Y para cuando el señor Mireles? Puto gobierno de mierda!!!

  4. She a police women?

    1. Policia Comunitaria, kind of AutoDefensa, rising that rifle could put her back in prison all over again, having selfies with weapons has cost many innocents their lives

    2. @2:09. The Mexican Constitution guarantees autonomy to indigenous communities. Guerrero even has a state law reaffirming that right. That means that those communities have the right of self government. That means they can choose their form of govt. at the local level which includes setting up a Community police force which have the right to carry arms (although limited) and Nestora was and probably still is considered the chief of police if she wants the job.
      Such communities are scattered all over Guerrero and are generally governed by a Community Coordinating Council that the Community Police serve under. Many have operated that way for years, long before the war on drugs.
      One clarification on your comment, Nestora was not taking "selfies". There was huge crowd (and many reporters) gathered to greet her as she left prison and they were taking the photos.

  5. Good stuff!I wonder how long she's been locked up?Hope the criminals don't see her as a threat as she immediately held up a rifle and vowed to fight for justice.Now all they need is the good Dr. released.She sure looks happy.

    1. Are you really that clueless, or just lazy? There are many ways to find the answer to your question.......

  6. Free mah nigga Mirelles and all political prisioners

  7. Get out of mexico now!! You still have time...

  8. Hopefully this is a chain reaction N MIRELES gets set free....N I wish she don't get slaughtered like every good best wishes 2 her N every good mexiKAN out there

  9. Doc Mireles and 400 others.....please :(

    1. Agreed. As it seems that U.N. panel decisions carry some weight with the Mexican authorities, it would be wonderful to have them weigh in on the legality of Mireles' detention also.

    2. The UN is a puppet of the US since W threatened to withdraw US support for them if they don't "do as told..."

  10. She won't survive on the streets ...she will be assassinated oh , in about a week or so . That's probably the only reason they released her , to take pressure off the government and pay a thug on the streets to get rid of her . Victory ? It's all smoke and mirrors .

    1. tha is what her husband says, they will kill her

    2. O no and that's coming from her husband.I hope they don't make an example out of her to warn all the other political prisoners when they are let out.If she's dead she can't help anybody.

    3. Plenty of others been set free and lived

    4. 5:36 I guess the mexican government PAYS you to say that.
      --Your position is like that of the slave that is happy because they let him get at the table scraps...
      --and he wants everybody else to know by his example that not everything is wrong...

  11. Now let ADs out and Dr Mireles.Nah,maybe they still to shit scared to let the Doc out.He's got more charisma than the lot of them put together

  12. She's really in a no win situation. If she leaves, it can be seen as her giving up or turning her back on the fight for the rights of and justice for the indigenous populations of Mexico. Her remaining in Mexico subjects her to further persecution by the Mexican injustice system or to assassination at the hands of the criminal elements that are so pervasive throughout this country. Frankly, I am surprised that the Mexican government did not immediately deport her upon being released from prison given that she is a U.S. Citizen.

    In my opinion, she can raise greater awareness of the atrocities committed by the Mexican government against its native population if she champions the issues from the relative safety of the U.S. The media in this country would be pounding on her door to interview the poor woman that the Mexican government arrested on trumped up charges using fabricated evidence or no evidence with witnesses that were told what to say. In an election year, the candidates for office would soon follow eager to use her story for their own agenda and or to embarrass the government of Mexico.

    1. She's a naturalized us citizen which usually means she's also a mexican citizen since dual citizenship is allowed between these countries and no one renounces either. So they can't deport her.

    2. Also, the us media isn't pounding down any doors to hear about mexico. If sex and gore sells newspapers, and they haven't been covering the sex and death circus in mexico by now, they ain't gonna.

    3. @Soliado. The other comments are correct that as a citizen of Mexico she has every right to stay in Mexico if she chooses. She cannot be deported.

      As to her getting more publicity and thereby putting pressure on the Mexican Govt. to make reforms, you are probably also correct. But if she did that from tours, press conferences in the US, she would likely loose her momentum as a leader of what ever is left of the movement to get the people of Mexico to rise up and fight crime and corruption. She believes as I do that it is ultimately up to the people of Mexico to rid the country of corruption and violence. Pressure from the US or other outside pressure will never accomplish that.
      She is a very brave woman.

    4. Weapons and money for the corrupt mexican government, and trained sicarios for their death squads the US and now france contribute, are not a solution, they are a big part of the problem, the mexicans can not fix mexico themselves because of that, don't put the responsibility on the mexican people to work IN their own mexican country to fix their own mexican problems when they are caused by globalization aspirations from other foreign predator satrapies...

  13. Hallelujah!!! I agree leave Mexico while you can. Leave now to come back and fight another day. There is no shame in laying low until the heat is off.

  14. Did she divorce her first husband or did she do what many have done take off an remarry in USA being married in Mexico

  15. This story should be the lead article at the top of the BB homepage instead of the BS being spewed by that lying wench Del Castillo.

    1. 5:56 nestora did what she had to do, she is a hero.
      --La kate did not need to do what she did:
      glorifying El Chapo Guzman while putting down peña nieto...
      -That is all it boils down to, do not compare apples to oranges.

  16. She won't go back, she claims she will, but she learned her lesson on how corruption works.

  17. She's already in the US, saw her coming in at the port of entry in Santa Teresa, NM


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