HomeNewsBrief200,000 People Involved in Mexico ‘Death Squads’: Congressman
BRIEF

200,000 People Involved in Mexico ‘Death Squads’: Congressman

MEXICO / 4 JUL 2013 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

A new study claims that up to 200,000 people in Mexico could be involved in death squads, whether at the service of organized crime, private interests, or even state actors, highlighting the alarming proliferation of armed groups in Mexico. 

A study authored by Congressman Ricardo Monreal Avila, “Death Squads in Mexico,” divides the death squads into four categories according to who funds and supports them, as Proceso reports. Official groups — a term which Monreal uses to refer to groups funded by state actors — include paramilitary groups and clandestine Armed Forces units dedicated to exterminating criminals. Private groups are made up of mercenaries, often from Israel or the United States, contracted by businesses for personal security. Parallel groups are composed of members of criminal organizations. Finally, there are insurgent groups, which include Mexico’s growing number of self-defense organizations.

Many of these groups rent out their services to criminal organizations, function as private armies, and provide services such as kidnapping, extortion, and human trafficking, according to Monreal. The report estimates that six out of ten members are former police or military, and that the total number of recruits may be as many as 200,000. The report also asserts that the so-called private and parallel groups, which include a rising number of women and minors, are the most dangerous of the organizations, as Univision reports.

Monreal’s study also criticizes the state for failing to recognizing the existence of these death squads and for failing to take back institutional control in areas where armed groups maintain a “parallel illegal economy.”

InSight Crime Analysis

The congressman’s report helps shed light on the alarming number of illegal armed groups in Mexico which are either out of the state’s control or actually working alongside or even within state security forces. 

Monreal’s condemnation of “private” armed groups hired by businesses to protect their employees and interests is particularly concerning, given the explosion in demand for private security in recent years in Mexico.

The report also directly challenges assertions by previous president Felipe Calderon, who denied the existence of death squads and paramilitary forces in Mexico after a spate of killings attributed to a group calling itself the “Mata-Zetas” (Zetas Killers).

The definition of “death squad” in the report may be too broad, and it is not necessarily accurate to refer to Mexico’s self-defense organizations as “insurgent” groups. However, the report is illustrative of a disturbing trend in Mexico: the state’s loss over its monopoly on the legitimate use of force.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 31 JUL 2015

To aid in the search for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico has solicited advice from the Colombian officials who hunted…

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 8 DEC 2010

One of the top commanders of the Familia Michoacana is registered as a teacher in his home state and receives…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 1 NOV 2011

Authorities in Mexico have rescued nearly 29,000 animals since 2000, many during operations against organized criminal groups.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…