Twelve police officers from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas were arrested for allegedly participating in January in the massacre of 19 people who were burned, including two Guatemalans, in an area bordering the United States, the prosecution reported Tuesday.
At the site of the massacre, indications were found that probably “at least 12 elements of the State Police participated,” Tamaulipas prosecutor Irving Barrios told a press conference.
On January 23, the Tamaulipas prosecutor’s office, on the border with Texas, reported that the burned remains of 19 people were found inside a burned vehicle, most of whom are presumed to be migrants from Guatemala seeking to reach the United States.
After the first investigations and an analysis of the place, the prosecution has reinforced the hypothesis of an alteration of the crime that would indicate the probable participation of the uniformed, added Barrios.
The police officers have already been arrested and will be charged for their “probable participation in the crimes of qualified homicide, abuse of authority, the performance of administrative functions and falsehood in reports given to an authority,” the prosecutor detailed. In Guatemala, relatives of migrants indicated that among the victims could be their relatives who in those days had decided to cross Mexico with the help of human traffickers, in an attempt to reach the United States.The Tamaulipas prosecutor’s office has worked with consular authorities in Guatemala and, based on DNA analysis, two Guatemalans and two Mexicans have been identified among the victims. Tamaulipas, on the Gulf of Mexico coast, is the shortest route to the United States from the south, but it is dangerous due to the presence of gangs that kidnap, extort, and murder migrants.
Camargo, the area where they were found, is an area of disputes between the Northeast cartel, which emerged from Los Zetas, which controls part of Nuevo León, and the Gulf cartel, which has operated in Tamaulipas for decades.In August 2010, a group of 72 undocumented migrants, mostly Central Americans, were killed by suspected Zetas in the municipality of San Fernando, in Tamaulipas. Mexico is experiencing a wave of violence linked to organized crime, especially drug cartels that dispute the routes to the United States. Since December 2006, when the federal government launched a controversial anti-drug operation, there have been more than 300,000 violent deaths, the majority in criminal acts, according to official counts.