HomeNewsBriefMunicipal Murders Highlight Local Corruption in Mexico
BRIEF

Municipal Murders Highlight Local Corruption in Mexico

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 2 AUG 2016 BY LUIS FERNANDO ALONSO EN

A mayor and four municipal police officers were arrested for the grisly murder of 10 people in Mexico's turbulent state of Michoacán, an event that could prompt debate over the slow implementation of the country's principal police reform program. 

Michoacán Attorney General José Martín Godoy Castro said four police officers forced a group of people at a grocery store in the town of Cuitzeo into a pickup truck on July 29, reported AFP. The next day, 10 incinerated bodies were found in the burned out truck. Citing unidentified witnesses, Godoy Castro said the officers had abducted the individuals on orders from Juan Carlos Arreygue, mayor of the municipality of Álvaro Obregón.

Michoacán Gov. Silvano Aureoles Conejo said that it was likely the gruesome killings were related to disputes over territorial control in the drug trade, reported Cambio de Michoacán. The governor went on to say that according to federal authorities, Arreygue had links to the now deceased Enrique "Kike" Plancarte, a former leader in the Knights Templar cartel. Plancarte was killed in a confrontation with the Mexican Navy in 2014 in the state of Querétaro.

On August 1, Aureoles Conejo said that the Center for Investigation and National Security (Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional) and the Attorney General's Office had previously found evidence linking the mayor to organized crime, reported Cambio de Michoacán.

InSight Crime Analysis

This case bears some resemblance to the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, that quickly drew international attention to corruption in Mexico. In that case, a local mayor allegedly ordered police to stop a bus full of protesting students. The police then handed the students over to a local criminal gang. The government's version holds that the students, many of whom have never been found, were then taken to a trash dump and burned. However, international experts have poked holes in that theory.

In response to the students' disappearance, President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed placing all municipal police departments under the command of the state police forces. Implementation of that program has moved slowly, however, and has faced significant political resistance.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

At any rate, the program, known as "Mando Unico" (Single Command), is not a cure-all for Mexico's long-standing corruption problems at the local level. In a recent interview with Plano Informativo, security analyst Alejandro Hope pointed out that the mayor of Iguala had signed a Mando Unico agreement just months before the mass disappearance. He said authorities could focus their reform efforts on other areas to greater effect. 

"There is an obsession with Mando Unico when it is number 77 on the priority list of police development," Hope said. "For me, the principal [priority] is the formation of police officers, the training, the budget. All of these topics mentioned here are 40 times more important than Mando Unico."

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

MEXICO / 8 SEP 2012

Schools and businesses shut down en masse in some parts of Mexico state over fears that a mysterious criminal group…

HOMICIDES / 4 JAN 2013

Ciudad Juarez, once one of Mexico's most notorious and violent cities, saw its homicide rate drop over 60 percent between…

GULF CARTEL / 10 FEB 2014

Mexico's landmark oil reform is poised to bring a flood of new companies into the nation's energy industry, adding a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.