EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The governor of Chihuahua says he’s taking steps to quell drug violence and police corruption in the southern part of the state.
During a Monday visit to Juarez, Gov. Javier Corral said he’s replacing top law enforcement officials and prosecutors in the Parral, Mexico area, following a series of firefights that claimed the lives of drug traffickers and police officers in recent months.
“Regrettably, this has to be done because we have been infiltrated by some people who, from inside the (police), are providing information to members of an organized criminal group that operates in that region,” Corral said.
Deputy Attorney General Lilia Maldonado Reyes and State Investigation Agency Cmdr. Gines Jaime Ruiz were relieved of their duties and will be reassigned following the assassination of Luis Raul Tarango Avila, a deputy police commander in Parral. Tarango allegedly was killed by a drug trafficker nicknamed “Bin Laden” for refusing bribes from the Gente Nueva cell of the Sinaloa cartel, the state attorney general said.
Corral said law enforcement agencies in the state would be re-engineered to prevent corruption. That includes rotating regional prosecutors and police commanders. He also called on the Mexican federal government to “assume its responsibility” when it comes to investigating organized criminal groups in Chihuahua.
Drug trafficking is a federal offense in Mexico, but Chihuahua authorities are going after drug gangs on homicide, attempted murder and kidnapping.
The governor said all four major organized crime investigations last year and one this year were done by state police officers and turned over to federal authorities.
“We have a need to considerably augment the presence of federal investigators and prosecutors in Chihuahua,” he said. “They need to do their own investigations and not rely on the work of local authorities.”
Corral said 55 percent of all violent crimes in the state and 85 to 90 percent of all murders in Juarez are linked to organized criminal groups, commonly known as drug cartels. This month alone, 77 people have been murdered in Juarez, including 21 this past weekend.
Security experts have referred to Juarez as a “huge parking lot for drugs” waiting to be crossed into the United States. They also said violence has flared up in the city because gangs working for the cartels are getting paid in drugs instead of cash and are selling those in city neighborhoods.