EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Chihuahua state authorities have suspended 86 municipal police officers and confiscated their weapons in a town 87 miles south of the U.S. border.
The actions came a day after a drug cartel allegedly castrated and murdered a suspected rapist in Casas Grandes and hung his naked body upside down along with a hand-written sign from a metal arch at the entrance of the city.
One-hundred state police officers and Mexican National Guard troops began patrolling the town of Casas Grandes on Wednesday and seized guns, bullets and two drones from a private home on Thursday.
“This presence will not be permanent but won’t be as sporadic as in the past. This is a very important region of the state and one with great public safety challenges,” Chihuahua Attorney General Cesar Jauregui said in a news conference on Facebook Live.
The attorney general was referring to a spate of nine abductions in a 30-day period beginning in mid-March and several multiple homicides allegedly linked to fighting between factions of the Sinaloa cartel and La Linea (Juarez cartel). These groups are contesting control not only of drug and migrant smuggling routes into the United States, but also illegal logging and fuel theft, state officials said.
Jauregui said law enforcement resources in the Casas Grandes-Nuevo Casas Grandes area, long considered a regional farming and ranching center, have not been adequate to combat the rise of organized criminal activity.
“Let’s be clear, the region has not received the law enforcement resources it needs. We want to provide the region more police presence and strengthen the state prosecutor’s office,” Jauregui said, adding he is replacing his deputy attorney general in the region.
State officials said the rifles and guns seized from municipal police officers on Wednesday would be examined to see if they have been used in cartel murders or other crimes.
The officers also will be questioned about why security cameras on the town arch from where the body was hanged had been disabled. The state officials did not say if they had made any arrests in the murder.
“Cartel justice” is not new to the border. In 2020, members of the Juarez cartel allegedly chopped off the hands of a suspected car thief.