Mexican Authorities Arrest Dozen of Police Officers for the Killing of 19 Guatemalan Migrants at Border

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Read more

The fears of an Indiginous community in Guatemala have been realized when it was reported that 12 Mexican state police have been charged in the arson and massacre of 19 migrants. Just a week ago, the Mexican Catholic Church spokesman, Bishop Jose Torres, “in the name of the highest values of humanity” asked for a “exhaustive” investigation into the murders.

The bodies of the Guatemalan migrants were found in a scorched pickup truck in Camargo, in an area that has been a battleground between the Gulf cartel and the old Zetas cartel for years.

Some of the relatives of the migrants in Guatemala spoke of receiving calls from the smuggler who took the group north, telling them their family members were dead. Relatives said they lost contact with them around Jan. 21.

The massacre brought up memories of the 2010 discovery of 72 bodies, all migrants, near San Fernando. The Central American migrants were targeted by Zetas cartel members who stopped two tractor-trailers carrying dozens of mostly Central American migrants and took them to a ranch in the Tamaulipas town of San Fernando. After the migrants refused to work for the cartel, they were blindfolded, tied up on the floor and shot dead.

The massacre at Tamaulipas has shocked Mexico due to the fact that the murders were carried out by local law enforcement. Though the AG isn’t ruling out cartel influence.

The massacre is the latest chapter in Tamaulipas’ history of police corruption. According to NBC News, most towns and cities in the state saw their municipal police forces dissolved years ago, because officers were often in the pay of the cartels. A more professional state police force was supposed to be the answer, which was just proven to be a fatal error in judgment of a law enforcement that has been let run amok in corruption for years.

Tamaulipas state Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica said all 12 officers were in custody and face charges of homicide, abuse of authority and making false statements.