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Viewing cable 08MONTERREY121, DRUG VIOLENCE FOCUSES ON SMALL DEALERS; PUBLIC YAWNS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MONTERREY121 2008-03-12 19:07 2011-02-10 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Monterrey
Appears in these articles:
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/02/10/index.php?section=politica&article=006n1pol
VZCZCXRO3142
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0121/01 0721941
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121941Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2768
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 3660
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA HQ WASHDC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 8138
145517
2008-03-12 19:41:00
08MONTERREY121
Consulate Monterrey
CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO3142
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0121/01 0721941
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121941Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2768
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 3660
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA HQ WASHDC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 8138

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000121 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  3/12/2018 
TAGS: SNAR PGOV KCRM ECON MX
SUBJECT: DRUG VIOLENCE FOCUSES ON SMALL DEALERS; PUBLIC YAWNS 
 
MONTERREY 00000121  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Bruce Williamson, Consul General, Consulate 
General of Monterrey, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 

1.  (C) Summary.  Although the number of drug executions and 
kidnappings remains high in Nuevo Leon, the drug violence has 
shifted its focus to small time drug dealers and people who owe 
them money.  Public interest in this issue is declining as 
people have become accustomed to drug killings and see that the 
violence primarily affects low level actors.  In one notable 
success, state police detained members of a gang which 
perpetrated kidnappings and killings.  The federal forces 
continue to conduct some local operations against safe houses 
and kidnapping gangs, but the state and local police have done 
little.  End Summary. 
 
2.   (C)  By objective standards, 2008 has been a violent year 
in Nuevo Leon. As of March 11, there have been over 20 drug 
executions, a figure which, if annualized, would put the state 
ahead of the record pace of 107 for calendar year 2007.  We also 
understand that kidnappings continue, particularly of small time 
drug dealers or people who owe the cartel money.  One gang which 
kidnapped Mexicans who own small or medium sized businesses in 
Northern Monterrey (targeting those who have ready cash) has 
been put out of commission.  This  band, called 'los similares' 
(because they passed themselves off as Zetas, the enforcement 
arm of the Gulf Cartel) killed one kidnap victim, and collected 
ransoms on five others, netting tens of thousands of dollars 
from each one, among other crimes.  There have also been 
significant increases in other crime, such as bank robbery, 
which number 27 for the year so far, ahead of the record pace of 
56 for 2007. 
 
3.  (C)  In 2008 the profile of drug murder victims has changed. 
 Except for two cases, the victims of the drug executions in 
2008 have all been small time drug dealers or people who owed 
the cartels money.  In contrast, there were assassinations of 29 
police officers -- including police chiefs, commanders and 
federal AFI agents -- and a Nuevo Leon state deputy in 2007. 
The killings have also been less public. In 2007 there were 
cases of shootouts in broad daylight, but now the victims are 
killed more discreetly.  According to the contacts of one of 
Consulate law enforcement official, these killings have been 
conducted within the context of the truce between the drug 
cartels and constitute 'the settlement of accounts' of drug 
dealers who have not been following the cartel's rules.  These 
contacts also report that some drug cartel members have been 
laying low in Nuevo Leon due to Mexican federal government 
pressure on their organizations in the neighboring state of 
Tamaulipas.  In addition, the drug cartels may now realize that 
high profile killings are counterproductive because they 
generate increased law enforcement heat. 
 
4.  (C)  The state of Nuevo Leon has reacted minimally.  On 
January 21, presumed drug hitmen killed a Nuevo Leon judge, 
Ernesto Palacios Lopez, who had presided over a 2005 case 
involving two state drug kingpins.  This was the first 
assassination of a state judge and it created considerable 
public outcry, in the end provoking legislative efforts to 
provide security for state judges.  A state police sergeant was 
attacked on March 5, but he escaped unharmed.  The state police 
reacted the next day by apprehending 381 people, although the 
vast majority were released the next day and so far only four 
have been arrested on any charges (but not the assassination 
itself).  In contrast, on March 2, presumed drug cartel members 
killed three people in two separate attacks within five minutes 
of each other; to date, no one has been taken into custody for 
these crimes.  A Post law enforcement official opined that the 
local police would act on intelligence passed to them about low 
level criminals, but they are too afraid to use such 
intelligence to catch the big fish of the drug cartels. 
 
5.  (C)  Nuevo Leon police did arrest eight members of the gang 
'los similares' on March 10.  These criminals are suspected of 
committing at least four executions in Nuevo Leon in 2008, and 
kidnapping 15 people in 2007 and 2008.  Although 'los similares' 
passed themselves off as Zetas, there is no indication that they 
were connected with a drug cartel.  In contrast, there have not 
been any arrests of the perpetrators of the 55 drug executions 
in 2006 or the 107 killings committed in 2007. 
 
6.  (SBU)  There is much less public outcry about drug violence 
now.  Last year every execution was front page news, and the 
leading newspaper El Norte kept an interactive webpage on the 
location and data for each killing.  Now El Norte covers the 
killings in the inside pages of its local section.  Post press 
officer met with a senior El Norte editor, who seemed to 
genuinely believe that violence had declined.  Similarly, last 
year after each killing our law enforcement contacts would buzz 
with the news; now there is little interest in the details of 
each death.  Similarly, our economic contacts seem much less 
worried as the violence seems farther off and does not directly 
affect the more affluent communities.   In addition, people have 
become more accustomed to drug killings, so their attention has 
moved on to other subjects. 
 
7.  (C)  Comment.  The state police, while capable of busting a 
killing and kidnapping ring when it is not associated with the 
cartels,  seems to have little local appetite to hit the local 
drug cartels hard.  The Mexican military and federal police 
continue to conduct operations, but there is little help from 
state and local forces.   The only notable operation by state 
and local police was the March 6 sweep of detaining 381 people 
after the policeman was attacked, but almost all were released 
shortly afterwards, indicating, in our view, that it was more 
for show than a serious operation.  End comment. 

WILLIAMSON