Juárez officers charged in rape
El Paso woman was leaving club
Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
JUAREZ -- Two Juárez city police officers were charged Monday in the sexual assault of an El Paso woman who was attacked early Saturday after she and her husband left a nightclub in the ProNaf, said Claudia Bañuelos, spokeswoman for the Chihuahua state police.
"The two police officers who were indicted (Monday) are Gerardo Hinojosa Robledo and Juan Castorena Avila, and are in custody at the Cereso jail," she said. "The case is in the hands of a judge, and it will be up to him whether to allow the officers to bond out."
The U.S. consul's office in Juárez confirmed that the reported victim is a U.S. citizen, who Mexican authorities described as a 24-year-old who lives in El Paso with her husband.
Bañuelos said the police put the husband inside a police van, and the woman tried to intercede by offering the officers money to let him go. To keep from attracting the attention of onlookers, the police allegedly placed her in another police van and sexually assaulted her there.
The police then allegedly dropped off the woman in the nightclub parking lot and allowed her to rejoin her husband. Later, the two of them returned to Juárez to file a complaint at the Aldama district police station.
"While they were at the station, the woman recognized two of the policemen who walked into the station and identified them as her assailants," Bañuelos said.
Saturday's incident is the second attack against U.S. women reported by Mexican authorities in Chihuahua state in less than two weeks.
Last week, a Chihuahua state policeman was charged in the shooting death of Marie E. Guerra of Deming, N.M. An investigation is under way to determine whether the shooting in Palomas, Chihuahua, was accidental or intentional.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6140.
[STILL ALONG THE TEXAS MEXICAN BOARDER]
Fear a constant fact of life at border city ruled by thugs
By S. Lynne Walker
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
August 9, 2005
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – The hidden messages are everywhere: In the "For sale" signs in narco neighborhoods, in the fear on city officials' faces, in the cautious way people pick their words and lower their voices when they speak of the drug cartels that control their lives.
When they are pieced together, the messages tell a story of a border city that is, in the words of one U.S. official, "spiraling out of control."
They tell the story of a place where the rules of ordinary life have changed, a cautionary tale for cities stretching from Tijuana to Acapulco.
The messages have been emerging in Nuevo Laredo for two years. But it wasn't until the June 8 killing of the city's police chief seven hours after he took office that outsiders began to understand what insiders had been enduring.
"Almost everyone living in Nuevo Laredo now feels a certain amount of tension," U.S. Consul Michael Yoder said as he stood outside the consulate, which reopened yesterday after a weeklong closure in response to the violence.
"We've had something like 109 murders, all but a few of those connected with the narco war that's taking place in Nuevo Laredo," he said, noting that only six suspects had been arrested. "There really is a feeling that you can get away with murder in Nuevo Laredo."
The oppressive climate of fear that dominates the city was created by two drug cartels, headed by Osiel Cárdenas of the Gulf cartel and Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán of Sinaloa. Now, a third cartel may have entered the bitter war for control of this sun-baked city of 350,000 across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas.
The names of the cartel leaders are as familiar here as those of family members. The cartels have penetrated every neighborhood, setting up safe houses and recruiting local teenagers as their helpers.
As the bloody feud has deepened, Americans have also become victims. Since last August, 42 Americans have disappeared while visiting Nuevo Laredo, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Nineteen have reappeared, four were apparently killed and 19 are still missing.
Now U.S. officials are worried about drug violence spilling across the border.
Last year, three grenades were tossed into a house in Laredo in an incident linked to Nuevo Laredo's drug violence. And on June 8, the same day that Nuevo Laredo's new police chief, Alejandro Domínguez, was shot dead outside his office, two slayings occurred in Laredo. U.S. law enforcement officials think the killings may be linked to the chief's slaying.
Leopoldo Ramos, a Nuevo Laredo councilman who was gunned down on Friday, received death threats over the police radio. Several months earlier, cattle on his ranch had been shot to death with AK-47s. More recently, an explosive device was left at his front door.
Ramos was president of the city's Public Security Commission and the mayor's closest confidante.
The message from Ramos' killing was not lost on city insiders.
Immediately afterward, City Clerk Guadalupe Váldez handed in his resignation. Váldez, a former police chief, was lucky enough to leave that job in May by way of a letter of resignation rather than a hail of bullets.
[ FEDERAL MEXICAN TROOPS ARE NOW ION NUEVO BUT THEY ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING. IT WAS ALL A PUBLICITY STUNT BY VINCENTE FOX. IF THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT REALLY WANTS TO TAKE CONTROL BACK AND THE UNITED STATES IS SO CONCEARNED THEN I HAVE TO CONCLUDE THAT IT WOULD GET PRETTY HOT IN NUEVO LAREDO. I MEAN ON THE MEXICAN SIDE A LITTLE SOMBRE NEGRA ACTION IS DESPERATLY NEEDED AND ON THE TEXAS SIDE LET A COMPANY OF TEXAS RANGERS BE UNLEASHED ON THESE DRUG PEDDELING PUNKS. WE HAVE NO NEED FOR THEIR ILK IN MODERN SOCIETY! OH WAIT THE MEXICAN AUTHORITIES ARE TO BUSY WITH THEIR OWN ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES LIKE RAPE AND MURDER TO TRY AND STOP THE DRUG CARTELS.]