"There are signs that things are not so good. We can't continue waiting for results which have been promised, but have yet to arrive." - State Security Commission chairman
*Updated Sept. 25*
State prosecuting attorney Luís Carlos Nájera has been ordered to appear before a Jalisco legislative commission to answer questions concerning an unprecedented increase in organized crime violence since the administration of Governor Aristóteles Sandoval took office on Mar. 1, 2013.
Secretary of Tourism case
Twelve days after the state's PRI government assumed power, its newly named Secretary of Tourism was chased down and assassinated in broad daylight on a busy Guadalajara street. The brazen Mar. 13, 2013 murder of José de Jesús Gallegos Álvarez has been oficially attributed to a team of hired sicarios - professional executioners - on the payroll of the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), commonly known as Los Matazetas ("the Zeta Killers"), the dominant organized crime force in Jalisco.
In preliminary court testimony, one of Gallegos' killers testified that the secretary was a money launderer for the now largely decimated Los Caballeros Templarios in neighboring Michoacán state. The Templarios and the Guadalajara-based Matazetas were archenemies for years, and Gallegos was targeted on direct orders from the Matazetas' supreme leader, according to the assassin.
"This gentleman (Secretary Gallegos) - had he been allowed to continue on - would have bought off all the authorities, and the Templarios would have begun working in our own backyard, as if it were nothing, with full protection of the state government," the witness told an investigating magistrate months ago. The claim plainly challenged the trustworthiness of the entire Sandoval administration. Jalisco tourism boss was Templarios money launderer, assassinated on orders of Los Matazetas.
Violence in rural Jalisco
On May 12 of this year Matazetas gunmmen ambushed a Mexican army convoy west of Guadalajara, killing four soldiers and seriously wounding two others. The unit was on patrol near Guachinango, half way between the Jaliscan capital and Puerto Vallarta, when it was fired upon just before 5:00 p.m.
In August the mayor of Ayutla County, Jalisco - part of Guadalajara's exurbia - and his police chief were ambushed and killed by CJNG gunmen after allegedly betraying or angering cartel operatives. One of the confessed gunmen has testified that the mayor himself "had an arrangement with the Matazetas." Jalisco prosecutor: Matazetas are responsible for murder of Guadalajara area mayor.
Meanwhile, since November 2013 more than 100 sets of human remains have been excavated from narofosas - burial sites where organized crime dumps victims - on Guadalajara's perimeters. Jalisco prosecutor reports narco grave near Guadalajara-Chapala highway. Many have yet to be identified.
Monday's kidnapping in Guadalajara and subsequent murder of a federal congressman
On Monday the Institutional Revolutionary Party deputy who represented Jalisco state in the lower chamber of Mexico's federal Congress was kidnapped in the most public of venues as he sped to the Guadalajara International Airport to catch a return flight to Mexico City. PRI representative Gabriel Gómez Michel and his aide Heriberto Núñez Campos were snatched from the city's busy, multi-lane periferico shortly after 5:00 p.m. The incinerated bodies of both men were found in their burned out vehicle in nearby Zacatecas state late Tuesday. Jalisco federal deputy kidnapped in Guadalajara is found murdered.
Also on Tuesday a Mexican media source reported that in the last 18 months, more than 60 Jalisco state officials have been killed, all at the apparent hands of organized crime. That follows last week's pronouncement by a highly respected national columnist that the federal government is intensely focused on deteriorating security in the state. Jalisco, Baja California top Mexico's "Red Alert" list.
Troubles for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party
Gómez's execution can only cause political embarrassment for PRI president Enrique Peña Nieto, who has been busy for weeks proclaiming Mexico's alleged dramatic reduction in homicides since his administration came to power on Dec. 1, 2012. He did so once again yesterday while on a whirlwind speaking tour in New York, where he is attending the United Nations 69th General Assembly.
And Jalisco Governor Aristóteles Sandoval is himself a PRI presidential hopeful for 2018, doing his best to emulate Peña Nieto. These extraordinary events will not aid his long term political aspirations.
Federals will take charge of the latest case
Today the president of the Jalisco Security Commission said, "We hope prosecutor Nájera can clarify for us what is going on, what the government's security strategy is, because there are indications that things are not good. We can't continue waiting for results which have been promised, but have yet to arrive.
Nájera has been ordered to appear on Sept. 30. But Mexico's Secretary of Government Miguel Angel Osorio Chong - president Peña Nieto's highest ranking cabinet member - today did not rule out the possibility that the federal Attorney General's office will take the lead in the investigation of Gabriel Gómez Michel's kidnapping and murder. The Attorney General himself, Jesús Murillo Karam, said just the same later in the day, noting the case clearly falls within federal jurisdiction. "But it will take time to sort out the facts," Karam told legislators during an appearance in San Lázaro, Mexico's "Capitol Hill."
Sept. 26 - Mexico's angry Chamber of Deputies demands results in Gabriel Gómez investigation
Aug. 25, 2014 - Mexican press: homicides under Peña Nieto far exceed those under Felipe Calderón
May 24, 2013 - Drug cartels behind three recent Guadalajara attacks
Jalisco Secretary of Tourism José de Jesús Gallegos met this end on Mar. 9, 2013, only a week after he took office in the new PRI state government.
PRI federal deputy Dr. Gabriel Gómez Michel was buried Sept. 25 in Guadalajara. In a national radio interview Jalisco Governor Aristóteles Sandoval said there were no developments in the case, but all local investigative information was being turned over to the Procuraduría General de la República - the federal Attorney General in Mexico City.
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