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Authorities in Mexico say they’ve solved teen’s slaying — again

19 July 2009

One added link — in italics

The headline the Los Angeles Times chose to run on Ken Ellingwood’s article on the confusion surrounding the capture of a second set of suspects in the Fernando Marti kidnapping and murder case sums up the absurdity of the situation.

Of course, there is  nothing funny about it when a 14-year old boy is kidnapped and murdered, but when the boy’s father, millionare sportsware manufacturer Alejandro Marti became the face of an astro-turfed anti-crime movement (fomented by endless advertising on Televisa and pushed by PAN as a way of showing support for the Calderon Administration’s anti-crime initiatives) there was always something dubious about the case.

Federal District prosecutors claimed the people they arrested — including FEDERAL police officers — were the culprits, although they admitted they did not know who exactly murdered the boy.  Those arrested were supposedly from a gang called “La Flor” which, under the leadership of former federal agent Sergio Ortiz, scoped out the pricier health clubs to identify potential victims.

However… this week, FEDERAL police claimed that they have arrested members of a second kidnapping gang, led by Abel Silva Petriciolet (who is still at large) and that two members of the gang confessed to murdering Marti.

The Petricolet gang is said to have been under investigation for a number of years, and to have murdered at least kidnapping victims… 14 year old Marti and a 16 year old boy among them.  While the District Prosecutor insists his gangsters (La Flor) are the right guys, he has been gentlemanly enough to share… suggesting that perhaps the target of the Federal Prosecutor’s target– the Petricolet gang — “might” somehow be related to his case.  But, the District Prosecutor claims he’s never heard of the Petricolet gang before now.

I’ve known Mexican prosecutors, and in high-profile crimes (especially where there is an incentive to resolve it quickly) it’s very likely that someone will be “persuaded” to confess to the deed rather quickly.   Which will make for splashy headlines… the long delays as the prosecutor fails to develop a case less well noted, and the culprit’s eventual release hardly noted at all.  Given the political presure to find someone, at first I assumed that the “La Flor” gang might not be the right people (much as after the Morelia bombings last year, the gangsters of the month, the Zetas, we were assured were the culprits, and the first shady characters pulled in at a roadblock “confessed” to their involvement in the attack).

But, this case always was odd.  Not just that only wealthy, conservative crime victims were chosen as “spokespersons” for the big anti-crime rallies, but that as the local Mexico City prosecutor’s investigation began pointing towards involvement by Federal police officials, the Administration’s concerns for public security and safety switched to rooting out “corruption” among opposition party figures.

Somebody was bound to notice.  Ganchoblog has a range of reactions, all dubious of the latest arrests. Of course, the hardly fair and balance Blogotitlan (its who raison d’etre is to propandize for the “Legitimate Presidency of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador), raises the questions less politely than some, but as legitimately as any:

When the Federal District Prosecutor began unraveling the case of Fernando Marti (under pressure from Alejandro Marti, who famously said, “if you can’t resolve the crime, then resign”) strands within the investigation nearly led to the Federal Secretary of Public Security, a line of investigation immediately halted by Felipe Calderon.

Today, the Federal Prosecutor hauls out another “culprit” in the kidnapping and murder of young Marti… this one confessing to the crime, but with no corroborating evidence being presented.

Did two gangs kidnap and kill the same person, unbeknowst to each other?  Either the District Prosecutor, or the Secretary of Public Security is lying.

A “citizen’s watchdog” group (paid for by Calderon’s administration) has demanded answers … from the District Prosecutor, not from the Secretary of Public Security, who has offered no corroborating evidence beyond the “confessions”, undoubted obtained by the technical means usually employed by Mexican police.

It can’t be that the Federal Secretary wants to protect their own “persons of confidence” (some accused by the District Prosecutor with at least partial culpability in the crime) from investigation — or, at the very least claiming a “triumph” for the discredited Calderón — while seeking to rehabilitate valued accomplices in their criminal activities.

The worst thing about all this is that the Federal Secretary admits to having shadowed the gang his office claims is responsible for these crimes since 2005: time enough for them to commit several misdeeds with no attempt to halt them. Inefficiency or complicity?

In the recently relevant words of  Ricky Ricardo the Federal Secretary has some ‘splain’ to do.

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