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Cablegate: Killing of Police Chief Latest in Cartel Violence,

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4069
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 5149
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233709
2009-11-06 22:20:00
09MONTERREY415
Consulate Monterrey
CONFIDENTIAL
09MONTERREY386|09MONTERREY411
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INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 5149
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000415

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/6/2019
TAGS: KCRM PINS SNAR ASEC PGOV PTER SOCI MX
SUBJECT: KILLING OF POLICE CHIEF LATEST IN CARTEL VIOLENCE,
INTIMIDATION AGAINST PUBLIC OFFICIALS

REF: A. MONTERREY 411
B. MONTERREY 386

MONTERREY 00000415 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: Bruce Williamson, Consul General.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (C) Summary: On November 4, gunmen ambushed and killed
the police chief of the Monterrey suburb of Garcia. Unconfirmed
DEA sources identified at least one of the attackers as a member
of Los Zetas. This is the latest in the drug cartels' endemic
intimidation and violence campaign against public officials that
includes mayors of Monterrey's suburbs and police officials (in
particular, retired military officers) in Nuevo Leon and
Coahuila. Civil authorities, burdened by corruption-riddled
police forces, are increasingly turning to military officers to
serve as municipal secretaries of public security. Now some of
the military officers being detailed to such posts are ending up
dead. End Summary.

Cartel Gunmen Kill Municipal Secretary of Public Security
--------------------------------------------- ------------

2. (SBU) In the latest brazen attack on civil authorities, on
the evening of November 4, a group of assailants killed the new
Garcia city Municipal Secretary of Public Security, retired
Brigadier General Juan Arturo Esparza Garcia, and his four
bodyguards, two of whom were soldiers, in a fusillade of over
200 bullets. Esparza, who had been on the job only four days,
was traveling in a convoy on the way to meet with new Garcia
mayor Jaime Rodriguez. His appointment came months after
several Garcia police officers were arrested for corruption.

Mayor Threatened
----------------

3. (SBU) Shortly before Esparza's assassination, Mayor
Rodriguez reported that a group of over 30 gunmen in around ten
vehicles arrived at his house and threatened him and Esparza.
Esparza was then killed soon thereafter around 15 blocks from
the Mayor's home. Esparza had 40 years of military service and
had served on the protective detail of four Mexican presidents,
including a stint as former President Vicente Fox's chief of
security.

Military, State Take Control
----------------------------

4. (SBU) Over 200 soldiers responded after the killings and
conducted a sweep of the area with state police. Media reports
indicated that a number of Zeta cadres live in the town of
Garcia (pop. 50,000) located northwest of Monterrey in Nuevo
Leon. Shortly after the murders, Governor Rodrigo Medina
announced that military and state police forces assume control
of the city. Mayor Rodriguez told the press that he believed
the city's police force had been infiltrated by the drug
cartels, finding it unusual that none of the city's police had
noticed 10 vehicles full of gunmen on city streets prior to the
shooting. State authorities detained Garcia's 70 police
officers for questioning in connection with Esparza's shooting.

Zeta Member Possible Suspect
----------------------------

5. (C) DEA sources within the military indicated that Eduardo
Almanza Morales, a Zeta member whose brother, Otavio Almanza
Morales, allegedly orchestrated the February 2009 killing of
Cancun's Municipal Secretary of Public Security retired General
Mauro Enrique Tello Quinones, was behind Esparza's slaying.
(Note: Post has not been able to obtain official confirmation
of this information. End note.)

Suspects Arrested
-----------------

6. (SBU) On November 5, authorities arrested five police
officers and five other suspects in connection with the killing
of Esparza and his bodyguards. Nuevo Leon state Attorney
General Alejandro Garza y Garza told the media that one of the
suspects, Norberto Jaime Trevino, had been in a dispute with
city authorities over his operation of an illegal quarrying
company. Trevino had enlisted the help of a local hotel owner,
Victor Manuel Gomez, with drug cartel ties to intimidate Garcia
municipal officials.

Pattern of Cartel Intimidation, Threats, Killings
--------------------------------------------- ----

7. (C) Esparza's assassination is just the latest in a series

MONTERREY 00000415 002.2 OF 002


of overt drug cartel attempts to cow local authorities. On
October 30, just hours after taking office, the Municipal
Secretary of Public Security in the Monterrey suburb of Escobedo
resigned his position, citing threats he had received from
organized crime. Four outgoing mayors of Monterrey suburbs
recently described threats they had received from
narcotraffickers to the CG. One even described brazen threats
made in front of print and broadcast media (ref A). In another
bold attack on civil authority, around 25 gunmen in six vehicles
fired on Zacatecas Governor Amalia Garcia's caravan on a major
thoroughfare in September (fortunately she had not yet joined
the motorcade).

Current and Former Military Personnel Targeted
--------------------------------------------- -

8. (SBU) Military personnel and former military officers
heading police forces appear to be targeted by the cartels. In
August, a retired general serving as police chief in Monclova,
Coahuila escaped an assassination attempt that left three of his
bodyguards dead. Piedras Negras police chief, army Colonel
Arturo Navarro was shot to death in April. Last October, 11
soldiers were tortured and killed outside Monterrey on the
orders of a Gulf Cartel leader in retaliation for military
action against cartel members.

Comment
-------

9. (C) Many cities, including Monterrey and its suburbs, have
been increasingly beset by cartel related violence (ref B) over
the past year. The growing reliance by municipal and state
leaders on the military to secure areas burdened by corrupt
police forces will likely increase conflict as cartels face off
against the army to regain control of their territories.

10. (C) With the change of municipal administrations, the City
of Monterrey's list of candidates for police chiefs has yet to
be completely vetted, joining other municipalities that are
waiting for security vetting to be completed in order to install
security heads. Looming drug cartel threats have caused
otherwise qualified candidates for these positions to demur from
accepting the positions, or, as in the case of the Escobedo
chief, to resign (para 7). In one instance, Post is aware of
one highly-regarded candidate for the San Nicolas Municipal
Secretary of Public Security position, who, if he accepts the
job, could conceivably face the same fate as Esparza. The
recent violence will only serve to make finding qualified and
honest police chiefs harder in the future.
WILLIAMSONB

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