HomeNewsBriefMissing Mexican Police Chief Latest Blow to Law in Zetas Territory
BRIEF

Missing Mexican Police Chief Latest Blow to Law in Zetas Territory

MEXICO / 19 FEB 2013 BY HANNAH STONE EN

The police chief in Nuevo Laredo has gone missing while two of his brothers have been found dead, the third time in a seven-year period that a police chief in the Mexican border city has either disappeared or been killed.

The Tamaulipas state Attorney General’s Office released a brief statement on February 19, which said that Roberto Alejandro Balmori Garza had been missing for "some days," and that they were investigating. Two of the police chief's brothers, Manuel and Jose Alberto, were found dead in a car on a highway outside the city on February 17.

Conflicting stories have emerged about how Balmori's disappearance and the death of his brothers are related. According to Milenio, Manuel, who worked for the federal Attorney General's Office, and Jose Alberto had been driving to Nuevo Laredo to investigate their brother's disappearance. However, according to Proceso, another theory has it that the three brothers were kidnapped together in Nuevo Laredo.

InSight Crime Analysis

Police in Nuevo Laredo are frequently intimidated by organized criminal groups. Balmori took office in Nuevo Laredo in February 2011, following the murder of another police chief, Manuel Farfan. Farfan was ambushed and shot dead, along with two bodyguards and his private secretary, after only a month on the job. In June 2005, Alejandro Dominguez was murdered just hours after officially taking up the post of police chief. In September 2012, three Tamaulipas state security officials, including the director of police strategy, were found dead in Nuevo Laredo.

These kinds of killings frequently involve criminal gangs who target uncooperative officers. Police may also be targeted if they are perceived as being too effective and threatening the operations of organized crime, or because the police agent is working for a rival criminal group.

Both the state of Tamaulias and the city of Nuevo Laredo are fiercely contested by Mexico's criminal groups. Tamaulipas has long been the primary battleground for the Zetas' war with the Gulf Cartel. Meanwhile, Nuevo Laredo has remained under the Zetas' control, but has also witnessed incursions by the Sinaloa Cartel. Conflict within the city deepened last year, after a rebellious faction of the Zetas announced it was forming an independent organization. Such developments have created an extremely volatile environment for Mexico's security forces.

Adding to the volatility is the lack of trust in Nuevo Laredo's police. The city has been without municipal and transit police forces since all municipal officers were taken off duty in June 2011, to undergo "confidence testing," due to concerns about the level of criminal infiltration in the force. They have been replaced by federal and state police, and members of the armed forces.

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

GUATEMALA / 4 FEB 2022

A former Guatemala mayor and his family have been accused of smuggling more than a dozen migrants later massacred in…

CHINA AND CRIME / 29 SEP 2021

Mexican geoduck clam populations are suffering as legal harvests are threatened by rampant poaching, which has driven the species onto…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 29 APR 2022

A US national who received smuggled AR-15 parts in Mexico and assembled the weapons for two of the country's most…

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…