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.

Tags

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

DRUG POLICY / 1 AUG 2018

Mexico President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has set himself the task of shifting the country’s heavy-handed, militarized security policies against…

GENDER AND CRIME / 13 AUG 2019

One of Mexico’s richest drug lords lives in luxury in his prison cell, attended by a butler and a private…

KIDNAPPING / 22 OCT 2012

Mexican authorities have found the body of a fourth taxi driver killed by a band of kidnappers and buried by…

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.