HomeNewsBriefJuarez Police Chief Dismisses 'Right-Hand Man' After String of Cop Killings
BRIEF

Juarez Police Chief Dismisses 'Right-Hand Man' After String of Cop Killings

JUAREZ CARTEL / 14 DEC 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Juarez City police chief Julian Leyzaola replaced a top security aide considered one of his most trusted confidants, although he said the decision had nothing to do with a recent surge in violence that left three police officers dead the past week. 

Juarez Municipal Public Security Secretary Alejandro Rodriguez Zepeda will be replaced with the current director of the city police academy. Leyzaola cited stress as a reason for the change in command, telling city newspaper El Mexicano that Rodriguez was given "a little vacation, he needed a break, he spent a lot of time [in the postion]." Zepeda held the position for a year

The dismissal came after Juarez saw one of the most significant series of attacks against police officers since March, when five police were ambushed and killed. The past seven days have seen a total of six attacks, with three agents killed and at least another four injured, according to El Diario de Juarez's count. The attacks started on December 7, when Leyzaola left Juarez for the weekend and left Rodriguez in command. 

Juarez Cartel enforcer gang La Linea have been blamed for the recent violence. A source told the El Paso Times that the current violence is a "confrontation" between the municipal police and a faction of La Linea still loyal to former commander Jose Antonio Acosta Hernández, alias "El Diego," who is currently in a US prison.

Rodriguez will reportedly continue working for the Municipal Public Secretariat in some capacitiy, although it is not yet clear in what role. He was a member of Leyzaola's inner circle in Tijuana, where Leyzaola once served as the Secretary of Public Security, and is credited with cleaning up the local police force and bringing down violence rates. Zepeda was among 16 officials chosen to accompany Lezaola when he was appointed chief of security in Juarez in 2012.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Leyzaola said that Zepeda's dismissal was unrelated to the police attacks, the fact that violence spiked in Juarez during Leyzaola's brief absence may feed the impression that Leyzaola's presence alone helps keep a relative calm in the city. Violence in Juarez has been steadily decreasing since 2010, a trend which appeared to accelerate after Leyzaola took office. However, it is debatable how much that decrease in violence is due to pressure from law enforcement, and how much of it is due to the fact that the Sinaloa Cartel now controls Juarez

The series of attacks against police is reminiscent of the threats made when Leyzaola arrived in Juarez earlier this year. Several banners signed by criminal organizations promised to murder one police officer a day until Leyzaola stepped down, prompting the city to temporarily house the municipal police force in hotels out of safety concerns. The current rash of killings could arguably be interpreted as another challenge to Leyzaola's authority, who presents himself as an aggressive hardliner against the cartels.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

JALISCO CARTEL / 9 JUL 2021

A series of photos taken in a Mexican town, that has been the focal point of major criminal engagements this…

ELITES AND CRIME / 30 JUN 2021

The embattled governor of a northern border state in Mexico is touting the timely arrests of those allegedly responsible for…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 21 NOV 2022

Wildlife traffickers in Mexico are taking advantage of the social media marketplace, placing some of Mexico’s endangered species in peril.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…