HomeNewsBriefJudge Working El Chapo Case Murdered in Mexico
BRIEF

Judge Working El Chapo Case Murdered in Mexico

EL CHAPO / 19 OCT 2016 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

A federal judge involved in the case of drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has been assassinated in Mexico, in a rare example of violence against high level Mexican judicial officials.

On October 17, Vicente Antonio Bermúdez Zacarías was shot in the head by an assassin who approached him while he was jogging near his house in the Estado de Mexico municipality of Metepec. He later died of his wounds in a hospital.

Bermúdez was a federal judge assigned to the Sixth Criminal Court, specializing in raids, preventive detention and communication intercepts.

He presided in numerous high profile organized crime cases, including that of El Chapo, Mexico's most infamous drug lord and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. 

After El Chapo escaped from a maximum-security prison for a second time in July 2015, Bermúdez issued several rulings related to the search for the fugitive drug trafficker, including authorizing interceptions of the communications of his wife Emma Coronel, reported El Pais. After his re-arrest in January, Bermúdez also halted a petition for extradition to the United States that El Chapo had reportedly requested in order to receive better treatment in prison. 

However, El Chapo was far from the only organized crime chief to deal with Bermúdez. The judge also issued rulings in cases linked to leading members of the Jalisco Cartel–New Generation (CJNG), the Zetas and Guerrero Unidos, according to El Universal.

InSight Crime Analysis

The motive for Bermúdez's murder remains uncertain, although initial suspicion will likely fall on the organizations of his two most recent high profile rulings; the El Chapo case and a controversial preventive detention ruling in the case of alleged CJNG leader Abigael González Valencia, alias "El Cuini."

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Whoever is responsible, the murder represents a rare example of organized crime attacking federal judges. As highlighted by Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope, this is the first murder of a federal judge in Mexico since René Hilario Nieto was killed in 2006, allegedly on the orders of the Gulf Cartel.

However, local judges, who rarely enjoy the same levels of protection as their federal counterparts, are common targets for violence and intimidation by organized crime networks.

The murder of Bermúdez underlines the fact that criminal organizations retain the will and capacity to use violence to pervert justice in Mexico and highlights the importance of protective measures to shield the judicial system from their influence.

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

COSTA RICA / 23 AUG 2011

On a visit to Mexico, Costa Rica's President Laura Chinchilla signed agreements with her counterpart Felipe Calderon to strengthen the…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 18 JUL 2011

Recent claims that computer programmers are being forcibly recruited by Mexican drug gangs, if true, suggest that the criminal groups…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 16 DEC 2014

A journalistic investigation casts serious doubts on the official version of the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico, alleging that…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…