Mexican held for 75 drug cartel killings

2012-01-31 13:47

Monterrey - Police in northern Mexico have captured an alleged member of the Zetas drug gang who confessed to killing at least 75 people, including many who were pulled off buses, authorities said on Monday.

Enrique Elizondo Flores told investigators 36 of his victims were bus passengers travelling through the town of Cerralvo, near the border with Texas, said Nuevo Leon state security spokesperson Jorge Domene.

Elizondo was detained on January 20 in the town of Salinas Victoria, but authorities delayed announcing his arrest so they could verify details of his confession, state Attorney General Adrian de la Garza said.

Domene said the 35-year-old suspect told investigators that he had been working in the area at least three years and that he was in charge of killing members of the rival Gulf drug cartel heading to the towns of Cerralvo and General Trevino.

Elizondo and other gunmen last January began pulling passengers off buses as they arrived at Cerralvo's bus station, Domene said. They are among at least 92 bus passengers the Zetas are accused of killing in three attacks in January and March 2011.

Many the victims were originally from the central state of Guanajuato and had arrived in Cerralvo from the border city of Reynosa, Domene said.

Bodies unearthed

Elizondo was known "for torturing, maiming and then killing his victims", Domene said.

Last year, authorities in the neighbouring state of Tamaulipas unearthed 193 bodies from clandestine graves in the town of San Fernando. Security forces said they were led to the site by members of the Zetas who confessed to kidnapping and killing bus passengers travelling through the area.

The motive for the bus abductions remains unclear. Prosecutors have suggested the gang may be forcefully recruiting people to work for it or trying to kill rivals they suspected were aboard the buses.

Northeastern Mexico has been engulfed by a turf battle between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas since they split in 2010.

More than 47 000 people have been killed nationwide since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown against drug traffickers in December 2006.

Global Financial Integrity, a programme of the Centre for International Policy, a Washington-based think tank, said on Monday that its analysis found that $872bn in proceeds from crime, corruption and money-laundering had flowed out of Mexico in the four decades from 1970 to 2010.

One officer killed daily

In the border city of Ciudad Juarez, police officers killed three men and detained a fourth on Monday after being attacked at a gas station, authorities said.

The officers were refuelling their patrol cars at a gas station a few blocks from the Zaragoza border crossing into El Paso, Texas, when they were attacked, a police statement said. The officers returned fire, killing three assailants, and they also seized two assault rifles, two handguns and a hand grenade, it said.

Last week, messages signed by the New Juarez drug cartel and left in several parts of the city claimed Police Chief Julian Leyzaola is favouring a rival cartel. It said that one officer would be killed daily if their members continue to be arrested. Five police officers have been killed since.

Leyzaola was not immediately available to comment on Monday's attack.

In a public appearance over the weekend, Mayor Hector Murguia said the recent string of attacks on law enforcement officers was a response from criminals affected by Leyzaola's work.

No stranger to threats

"Go downtown, there are no more brothels where drugs used to be sold," he said, referring to a police crackdown in downtown Juarez as part of the city's efforts to combat crime.

As a safety measure, police officers are now required to leave precincts wearing street clothes and are allowed to take their guns home. The city also is considering plans to rent hotels to quarter all the police force.

In 2009, then Police Chief Roberto Orduna quit after several police officers were killed and their bodies dumped along with messages saying more officers would be killed unless he resigned.

Leyzaola is no stranger to threats. Shortly after he was hired in 2011, the body of a tortured man was left in a street with a message to Leyzaola that read, "This is your first gift."

In April 2009, when he was police chief in western border city of Tijuana, drug traffickers took over police radio frequencies to say that if he didn't quit, many police officers would die.

A few days after, seven officers were killed in separate but co-ordinated attacks. Drug traffickers took over the police radio frequencies again to say their threat had been carried out.

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-31 14:26

    And that Mexican report on the safest cities in the world said Cape Town was bad, blooming hell, we not anything near to this thank God. Shame poor people, this ok is a prize twat!

      Ben - 2012-01-31 15:43

      In Mexico City kidnapping is a national sport...

  • MissGremlin - 2012-01-31 15:03

    Cross mexico off list for holiday destinations...

  • Daniel - 2012-01-31 15:29

    47,000 murders for Mexico between 2006-2012. South Africa has around 18,000 murders per year?!

  • rsteelegray - 2012-01-31 15:33

    my hope for this guy is that he gets put in prison for a very very long time, so that when he's 60 he can look back and see how useless his life has been. takes so long to grow up...

  • Itu Santino Cortez - 2012-01-31 16:11

    Where is the sinaloa cartel , those erses dont fool around, no other cartel will ever touch them, the los zetas and the la familia are small compared to those erses, salute !

  • Malcolm - 2012-01-31 16:36

    Some simple facts: * A rather large majority of people will always feel the need to use drugs, such as heroin, opium, nicotine, amphetamines, alcohol, sugar, or caffeine. * Just as it was impossible to prevent alcohol from being produced and used in the U.S. in the 1920s, so too, it is equally impossible to prevent any of the aforementioned drugs from being produced and widely used by those who desire to do so. * Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour. * The massive majority of people who use drugs do so recreationally - getting high at the weekend then up for work on a Monday morning. * A small minority of people will always experience drug use as problematic. * Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement - even whole governments, while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death. * The involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan and Cocaine from Central America has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the late journalist Gary Webb.

  • Malcolm - 2012-01-31 16:38

    * It's not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste hundreds of billions of our money in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets. * Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the prohibited drugs have ever done. * The United States jails a larger percentage of it's own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries. * The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American editor, essayist and philologist. * 2010 Reported Corporate Revenues: Johnson & Johnson = $61.90 billion     Pfizer= $50.01 billion     GlaxoSmithKline = $45.83 billion     Novartis = $44.27     Sanofi-Aventis = $41.99 billion     AstraZeneca = $32.81 billion     Merck & Co. = $27.43 billion     Eli Lilly = $21.84 billion     Anheuser-Busch InBev (2007) = $16.70 billion     MillerCoors = $3.03 billion     Pabst = $0.50 billion * As with torture, prohibition is a grievous crime against humanity. If you support it, or even simply tolerate it by looking the other way while others commit it, you are an accessory to a very serious moral transgression against humanity.

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