Local police chief killed in Nuevo León; mayor may have been involved, investigators say

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“MX” for Borderland Beat

In addition to his police work, the local police chief managed part of the commerce department and liquor distribution in Cienega de Flores.

José Ades García Valadez, the municipal police chief of Ciénega de Flores, Nuevo Leon, was shot to death one block away from where he lived. Investigators say that Garcia Valadez arrived at his home at around 17:00 hours and was on the phone with Pedro Casas Quiñones, the mayor of the town, moments before he was killed.

His son says that Garcia Valadez suddenly changed his facial expressions while on the phone with the mayor and drove out of the house minutes after he arrived. He told his family he would be back shortly. About three minutes later, his son and wife heard several gunshots; they left the house and noticed Garcia Valadez’s car parked a block away. Emergency services confirmed that Garcia Valadez was shot to death at the scene.

 

Authorities have not issued further information on the attack, but they are investigating the mayor as a possible suspect since he was on the phone with the victim and may have told him to step out of his house before he was killed.

In November 2019, Northeast Cartel (CDN) members killed the Doctor Coss Municipality police chief, Francisco Leonides Cruz, and two of his aides. Local reports said that the CDN used monstruos (literally “monsters”), a term used by cartels when referring to armored cartel vehicles, when they ambushed them.

In 2018, Garcia Valadez (left) failed a mandatory evaluation test but Cienegas de Flores mayor Casas Quinones (right) approved him as head of security anyways.

Background 

Since the start of Mexico’s drug war, cartels have targeted and killed hundreds of local officials (including mayors and municipal police chiefs). Though the exact motives are often never officially determined, security experts agree that criminal groups sometimes seek to control local officials to expand their agendas in that area.

In addition, the increase in narcomenudeo, or street-level drug sales, has compelled some drug cartels to seek government tolerance or collusion whenever possible in order to operate in a certain turf. Municipal police forces are more likely to be aware of local extortions and drug sale spots, known in Mexico as puntos. Some local police officers are involved in these activities themselves.

That is not to say that every police officer killed in Mexico is corrupt. Law enforcement officers who pose an honest threat to a drug cartel and who refuse to collaborate with them are sometimes killed. Cartel members have also killed police officers in rival turfs to increase law enforcement crackdown. This is done to calentar la plaza (“heat up the turf”) of the locally-based cartel.

Sources: Proceso; Teledario Monterrey; El Norte; El Norte (2)


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