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Cablegate: Drug Violence Continues in Northern Mexico Despite Military

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DE RUEHMC #0130/01 0531723
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P 221723Z FEB 07
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1707
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 2518
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 6766

97717
2007-02-22 17:23:00

07MONTERREY130

Consulate Monterrey

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

07MONTERREY130|07MONTERREY58|07MONTERREY73
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DE RUEHMC #0130/01 0531723
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221723Z FEB 07
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1707
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 2518
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 6766

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000130

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/ITA AND DS/IP/WHA; WHITE HOUSE FOR ONDCP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV ASEC ECON MX
SUBJECT: DRUG VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN NORTHERN MEXICO DESPITE MILITARY
PRESENCE

REF: A) MONTERREY 58, B) MONTERREY 73

MONTERREY 00000130 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Drug-related violence in Northern Mexico has
continued despite an increased military presence. The new wave
of violence left a state investigator and two former police
officers dead and, for the second time in less than a month,
drug cartels assassinated two men only hours after President
Calderon visited Monterrey to reiterate his promise to fight
organized crime. Several innocent bystanders were also
seriously wounded, including a nineteen month old girl who was
rendered blind by a drug-cartel hitman's bullet intended for her
father. Two days before the attempted assassination of a
federal Congressman, the GOM sent over 3000 soldiers, navy
personnel, and federal police to the two northern states on
February 16 in an effort to curb the killings. Post is
encouraged by the GOM's apparent commitment to stem the tide of
drug-related violence in the region, and will continue to work
closely with local law enforcement officials to monitor the
situation. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
---------
NEW WAVE OF ATTACKS LEAVES BABY BLIND
--------------------------------------------- --------------
---------

2. (U) Despite a push by state and federal law enforcement to
crack down on violence in Northern Mexico after January's
increase in drug-related assassinations (reftel A), the killings
continued, leaving more dead and wounded officials and innocent
bystanders in its wake. On February 3, assailants shot and
killed an investigator with the Nuevo Leon Attorney General's
Office as he exited a furniture store in Santiago, a town just
outside Monterrey popular with tourists. The officer, the sixth
to be killed in the area this year, died instantly after being
hit by several bullets fired from automatic rifles. A week
later on February 10, unidentified "sicarios" (hitmen) shot and
killed two former police officers in downtown Monterrey. One
February 13, an innocent bystander was shot and wounded during a
high speed pursuit and shootout between rival drug gangs in
Guadalupe, greater metropolitan Monterrey. Several kilos of
cocaine were found in one of the armored vehicles involved in
the ensuing collision.

3. (SBU) On February 15, President Calderon visited the
Monterrey area to reiterate his promise to fight organized crime
and violence in the state. Later that same day, two men were
shot and killed by "sicarios" in separate incidents in the city.
One was a local businessman assassinated outside of a
convenience store, and the other was a young man gunned down in
the parking lot of his father's business. NOTE. These
assassinations are strikingly similar to those that occurred
immediately following Calderon's last visit to Monterrey on
January 17 (reftel A). The warning message to President
Calderon, who has made fighting drug-related violence a top
priority, certainly appears to be the same. END NOTE.

4. (U) (SBU) On February 17, a nineteen month old girl and her
father were seriously wounded when "sicarios" opened fire on the
family's car as they were leaving their home in Santiago,
greater Monterrey. The father, who has known ties to the
Sinaloa drug cartel, was shot six times, but managed to drive to
the local police station where the family sought help for their
daughter. The girl was rendered blind by a bullet wound to her
head and remains in critical condition at a local hospital. To
date, authorities have not arrested any suspects involved in the
shooting.

5. (SBU) Finally, a Mexican Congressman survived an
assassination attempt when his car was ambushed by "sicarios" on
February 19 in Nuevo Laredo. The Tamaulipas state attorney
reported that a vehicle drove up alongside the Congressman's car
and opened fire, killing the driver and seriously wounding the
Congressman. Representative Horacio Garza Garza, who represents
Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican lower house of representatives and
who previously served as the city's mayor, was flown to a Mexico
City hospital on February 20. Post law enforcement officials
believe that the attack was in retaliation for the Federal
government's increased military presence in Tamaulipas and Nuevo
Leon. NOTE. Immediately after the assassination attempt, Post
was informed that local, state, and federal police officers
would immediately ramp-up their patrolling of Nuevo Laredo.
However, a source close to the Consulate reported that less than

MONTERREY 00000130 002.2 OF 002


two hours after the incident, there was little or no police
activity visible in Nuevo Laredo. END NOTE.

--------------------------------------------- ------------
GOM RESPONDS WITH MORE MILITARY
--------------------------------------------- ------------

6. (SBU) In response to the continued violence in Northern
Mexico, the GOM dispatched approximately 3000 soldiers, navy
personnel, and federal police on February 16 to the northern
states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. In a news conference,
Mexican Defense Minister Guillermo Galvan told reporters that
the military will set up checkpoints in and around the two
states. Post law enforcement confirmed that the campaign will
focus on stopping the flow of narcotics and weapons along known
drug trafficking routes. This increased military presence comes
less than a month after the Mexican military began operating
checkpoints in the Monterrey metropolitan area (reftel B).
NOTE. Interestingly, Post's RSO noticed that, despite the
public announcements about increased military presence, there
were no troops at the usual checkpoints between Monterrey and
Nuevo Laredo as of February 17. However, RSO did note that the
military has installed a new checkpoint at the main entrance to
Colombia International Bridge in Nuevo Laredo and is inspecting
all cars and trucks entering the bridge from the main access
road. END NOTE.

7. (SBU) COMMENT. Post continues to be concerned that the drug
cartels are targeting high-ranking officials and that none of
these assassinations result in the arrest or prosecution of
those responsible. Particularly troubling is the attempted
assassination of Congressman Garza Garza two days after the
increased military presence in the region, and the reported lack
of military action immediately following his assassination.
Nonetheless, we remain encouraged by the commitment of the
Mexican federal government to fight organized crime, as
exemplified by this increased military presence in Northern
Mexico. While Governor Gonzalez previously rejected the Mexican
military's presence for fear of damaging Nuevo Leon's reputation
as a safe and prosperous state, the Governor now publicly touts
the military checkpoints as part of his larger plan to combat
drug-related violence in the state. Post privately believes
that the military's intervention in state security matters was
forced upon Governor Gonzalez and that, to save face, he must
appear to support the campaign. In a February 19 interview with
a leading Monterrey newspaper, Milenio-Diario, the Consul
General was asked about the military campaign in Nuevo Leon.
The CG responded that he believed it was a good decision
undertaken jointly by the state and federal governments. Post
will continue to monitor the situation closely and report on
significant events. END COMMENT.
MORENO

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