Governor Rodrigo Medina announced that he will form a unified state police force in order to tackle the surging crime problem in the state of Nuevo León. Initially, the measure would include only the 11 municipalities of the greater Monterrey metropolitan region. Unlike the proposal of the Federal Government, which would actually result in the disappearance of individual municipal forces, the Medina proposal would be one of integration and subordination of the local forces to state level command(and coordination with the 7th Military Region HQ). It would be implemented through bilateral agreements signed by the state and each municipal government. Medina said:
Given the urgency to start reducing the increase in crimes, above all those with the highest impact, and starting from the fact that the coordination between nunicipal and state police forces has been shown to be insufficient in terms of results, we have to take the first steps. … This is not the time to beat around the bush, for jealousy between jurisdictions, nor for competitive labyrinths. If we go that way, we will lose the unity that we need.
Medina said that the model for the unification would be announced within the next 30 days, and would include integration of communication systems, standardization of protocols, and unification of planning. Each police force would have to be certified before it could join the unified structure. The Unified police force is part of Medina’s “Alliance for Security” announced yesterday. It also includes filling 500 state-level police vacancies and another 500 new state police officers.
While several of the mayors of the 11 Monterrey municipalities were enthusiastic about the plan, others sounded surprised and wary. Mauricio Fernández, the controversial mayor of San Pedro Garza García, said it would be very difficult for his town to join because it already had a committed investment program and he didn’t want possible corrupt police from outside operating in his town. (Reforma 9/14)
Naval Marines arrested Alberto Mendoza Contreras, aka El Chico Malo (“Bad Boy”), alleging that he controlled trafficking for the Beltrán Leyva cartel in the Monterrey suburb of San Pedro. Controversial San Pedro mayor Mauricio Fernández Garza said that he paid El Chico Malo as an informant (and credited him for fingering 50 corrupt cops), but denied that he had any knowledge of his trafficking activities. He added that Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont approved these activities, setting off a firestorm. The Ministry of Government issued an immediate statement in response: “It is unacceptable, under any circumstances, to exchange intelligence information for tolerating impunity or protecting criminals.”
In a second incident, the body of a drug dealer was found handcuffed and with signs of torture the day after he was photographed being detained by police in the Monterrey suburb of Santa Catarina. He was one of two suspects wanted for trying to ambush the local police chief. The police transferred him to Naval marines for transport to a hospital for treatment of injuries, but both the police and the marines deny responsibility for the suspect’s killing. (Excelsior 3/26, Reforma 3/24, 3/27)
Mayor Mauricio Fernández further inflamed matters when he said he would not be like other (unnamed) officials, who stood by like “stupid oxen” in the face of criminal activity. In an interview in Reforma, he called on the private sector to finance his 20-man “cleaning crews” to get rid of gang activity in San Pedro. Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont condemned vigilante action: “Whoever does this is harming everyone; he is a criminal, and it is not acceptable to fight crime with crime.” (Reforma 11/6, 11/7)
On the day that Mauricio Fernández took office as the PAN mayor of the Monterrey suburb of San Pedro Garza García, a gangster who had threatened to kill him was found murdered in Mexico City. In early October, the mayor-elect had said, “There are some intelligence groups that report to me directly—groups for rough work—or as I call them, a kind of cleaning crew, that will be responsible for convincing, in any way necessary, those criminal groups that there isn’t any room for them.” Fernández announced the death of ‘El Negro’ Saldaña, who was accused of running a kidnapping and extortion ring in Garza Garcia, hours before the Mexico City authorities reported finding his corpse and those of three other men, all executed. Fernández called the discovery of the bodies on the day of his inauguration a ‘coincidence.’ (Reforma 11/2, Universal 11/2)
Reporte Indigo published audiotapes of Mauricio Fernández Garza, the PAN candidate for mayor in San Pedro Garza García, the home of many of Monterrey’s major corporations. Fernández Garza is heard stating during a private lunch meeting that family members of the Beltrán Leyva cartel live in San Pedro, that they are as responsible as the authorities for the low crime rate by keeping the rival Los Zetas out, that the Beltrán Leyvas are ‘in agreement’ with the town’s public security plan, and that authorities accept drug dealing as long as it is not done in the open. Reporte Indigo editor Ramón Alberto Garza argues, “These revelations … are a direct hit at the political waterline of the PAN. … We have here a PANista confessing to negotiating with one of the most powerful cartels. And this isn’t the candidate in some forgotten hamlet. Fernández Garza … is a person of the highest political and economic profile in … Monterrey, the national enclave of panismo.” Fernández Garza said his comments were misinterpreted and denied ever negotiating with the Beltrán Leyvas. (Reporte Indigo 6/12, Universal 6/12)