Gov. Aguirre hints at resignation
Guerrero state prosecutor Iñaky Blanco Cabrera told a press conference yesterday that a group of student protesters fired upon the night of Sept. 26-27 in the city of Iguala were killed on the direct orders of the leader of Guerreros Unidos, a powerful drug cartel which controls much of the Pacific Coast state. He admitted some municipal police officers actively participated in the murders.
Six persons died during the incident, but more than 40 others vanished after being taken into custody and have not yet been located. Late last week 28 mutilated and incinerated bodies were found in six concealed graves near the village of Pueblo Viejo on the outskirts of Iguala, and there is suspicion some or all could be the remains of those who were detained, which included members of a football team traveling in a bus from Chilpancingo, the state capital. Blanco said that an unidentified witness claims to have seen 17 students in custody at Iguala police headquarters the evening of Sept. 26, from where they disappeared a short time later.
None of the remains have yet been identified, a process which Blanco said could take as much as two months. But clearly signalling his own suspicions, he added:
"The murders of the students, members of the football team and others were carried out by Iguala police elements connected to organized crime - particularly Los Guerreros Unidos - and the sicarios (executioners) who work for them."
Last week Gov. Ángel Aguirre Rivero said Iguala's police department is "completely infiltrated by organized crime," and insisted some students had been fired upon by "masked armed commandos" - a reference to organized crime execution teams. Blanco said his investigation had identified at least 30 municipal officers who belong to Guerreros Unidos, 22 of whom have been arrested and charged in connection with the Sept. 26 shootings.
In a press conference this week Mexico's National Security Commissioner said the typical member of Guerreros Unidos is between 16 and 25 years old. Although the cartel's business includes extortion and kidnapping, drug trafficking remains its primary enterprise.
"Los Guerreros deal in amapola (opium poppy) and marijuana headed to the United States. It is now a principal supplier to the Chicago market," noted CNS Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido.
Guerrero, one of the most dangerous of Mexico's 32 jurisdictions, has become a boiling social and political cauldron in recent years. The tourist economy upon which the state is so heavily dependent has been severely damaged by the presence of violent drug cartels, aided at times by corrupt local law enforcement departments which not infrequently are on the payroll of organized crime bosses.
Students protesting poor academic conditions and chronically malcontent school teachers opposed to mandatory national education reforms which became law in September 2013 have at times joined forces with civilian militias in an effort to display their political muscle, further contributing to episodes of local violence. Guerrero on verge of civil meltdown, as teachers riot. Guerrero has been rendered almost unmanageable as a result. Mexico's Guerrero state in extreme civil disorder.
Late today Gov. Aguirre, a member of Mexico's left wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), said he would consider resigning "if that would help resolve the case" of the missing students, which he, too, has attributed to organized crime. Aguirre's term does not end until next year.
"Let them investigate me all they want. I've always been the first to subject myself to public scrutiny," a defensive Aguirre said. "But I'm not going out under the (suggestion I had anything to do with this)."
Oct. 18 - Arrest of Guerreros Unidos boss brings few answers in case of missing students
Oct. 11 - Guerrero's Gov. Aguirre says 43 missing students "may yet turn up alive"
Mar. 31 - Guerrero citizen militia claims U.S. citizen Harry Devert was murdered by local drug cartel
July 15, 2012 - Political power is ultimate goal of Mexican drug cartels, says U.S. security expert
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