Citizens for Justice and Peace

Police accused of employing death squad tactics against drug suspects in Mexico

03, Mar 2018 | CJP Team

Mexican government prosecutors have filed charges accusing police in Mexico’s Veracruz state of establishing units that employed death squad-like strategies to kidnap and kill at least 15 people whom they suspected were drug runners and drug cartel informants, the Guardian reported. The indictment has alleged that police in marked patrol cars detained youths but did not document these arrests. Instead, they were allegedly handed over to special interrogation and torture squads within the police academy, were killed, and their bodies were disposed of. Charges have been filed against the former head of Veracruz’s security, as well as the leaders of at least two police divisions, indicating that these tactics were state policy under its ex-governor Javier Duarte, who is in prison and accused of corruption. According to  Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, a lawyer specialising in human rights, this is the first instance of people being charged “in significant numbers and of significant rank,” and the demonstration of there being “an organized, structured governmental apparatus that had an agreed-on, systemic method to carry out a policy of disappearing people”. He noted that the prosecutors’ developing the case “by demonstrating there was a whole governmental structure that was designed to disappear people” was “groundbreaking”. In March 2017, a mass grave with more than 250 skulls was discovered in Veracruz, but only some bodies have been identified.  


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