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Viewing cable 09MONTERREY386, VIOLENCE SPIKES AS NEW ADMINISTRATION TAKES THE REINS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MONTERREY386 2009-10-16 20:08 2011-02-10 12:12 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Monterrey
Appears in these articles:
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/02/10/index.php?section=politica&article=006n1pol
VZCZCXRO2368
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0386/01 2892017
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 162017Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3998
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 5073
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA HQ WASHDC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 9609
230107
2009-10-16 20:17:00
09MONTERREY386
Consulate Monterrey
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
09MONTERREY250|09MONTERREY379
VZCZCXRO2368
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0386/01 2892017
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 162017Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3998
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 5073
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DEA HQ WASHDC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 9609

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000386 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ASEC SNAR KCRM PHUM PGOV MX
SUBJECT: VIOLENCE SPIKES AS NEW ADMINISTRATION TAKES THE REINS 
 
REF: A) MONTERREY 250  B) MONTERREY 379 
 
MONTERREY 00000386  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1.  (SBU) Within two weeks of taking office, Nuevo Leon Governor 
Rodrigo Medina and his security team face a dramatic increase in 
violence.   While such violence is hardly new to the state, its 
capital Monterrey has in the last week experienced three 
dramatic gun battles in public spaces, two of them sowing panic 
as citizens ducked for cover in an attempt to escape the 
crossfire.  Heightened tensions between security forces and 
increasing brazenness on the part organized crime may indicate a 
desire to test the resolve of the new administration in making 
good on its campaign promise to cleanse public security forces 
of corruption and take the fight to organized crime. 
 
Gunmen Attempt to Rescue Accomplices at Rush Hour on Major 
Highway 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
------- 
 
2.  (SBU) On October 8 at approximately 3:00 p.m., municipal 
police pulled over a driver for drinking alcoholic beverages 
while operating his vehicle.  What started as a routine traffic 
stop apparently turned violent as police discovered firearms and 
determined that the vehicle was stolen.  Juan Jose Vazquez 
Marin, AKA "El Orejon," or "El Guero,"  attempted to assault 
officers, who took him and his four companions, Jose Enrique 
Perez Guerrero, Angel Mario Valdez Navarro, Juan Antonio Aguirre 
Garcia, and Candalario Mendoza Rodriguez, into custody.  Shortly 
after delivering these individuals to the custody of federal 
police in Linares, a municipality approximately 80 miles 
southeast of Monterrey, those agents started receiving phone 
calls demanding the release of the detainees:  they elected to 
transfer the suspects immediately to their regional headquarters 
in downtown Monterrey. 
 
3.  (SBU) Driving northbound on the Avenida Eugenio Garza Sada 
as it passed by the neighborhood Contry la Silla, federal police 
spotted an approaching convoy of four vehicles led by a Hummer, 
and immediately called for reinforcements.  The convoy 
intercepted the federal police at approximately 4:50 p.m., and 
both sides exchanged gunfire amid rush hour traffic for 
approximately 10 minutes before reinforcements arrived and the 
gunmen fled the scene, abandoning three vehicles and carjacking 
another to escape.  The fight took place among congested 
traffic, which locked up almost immediately as drivers attempted 
to take cover and avoid the crossfire.  Surprisingly, this 
firefight lead to only minor injuries among bystanders.  Vazquez 
and his companions were ultimately transferred to the regional 
headquarters, under heavy military escort, then later to 
military custody, and now await proceedings in the maximum 
security prison at Cadereyta, 15 miles east of Monterrey. 
(Comment:  Reports conflict as to the role Vazquez and his men 
play in local criminal organizations.  Some indicate that he is 
a member of the Zetas, taking over for Saul Bonifacio Martinez 
Hernandez, AKA "El Tiburon," killed in an engagement with the 
army on September 4 at Presa la Boca.  Others identify him as 
simply a member of the Gulf Cartel.  End comment.) 
 
Residents Call for Help as Gun Battle Rages Outside 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
4.  (SBU) According to eyewitness accounts, on October 12, 
around 6:20 p.m., eight men in three vehicles pursued another 
two to four individuals - all armed - back to a residence in the 
metropolitan Monterrey neighborhood of Indeco Naranjo, where 
they engaged in an extended gunfight for approximately 30 
minutes before fleeing, leaving behind shells matching the 
calibers of AR-15 rifles and hand guns.  Neighbors testify that 
they took cover and made repeated calls to the local police 
station, located only a few blocks from the incident.  However, 
police did not respond to those calls, arriving only after the 
army was already at the scene.  According to government sources, 
one unidentified individual was apprehended at the scene. 
(Comment.  A similar event occurred in the Monterrey 
neighborhood of Cumbres Oro in Monterrey on Aug 13, when a 
gunfight between approximately 15 assailants and presumed 
members of the Arturo Beltran Leyva organization raged for 
approximately one hour, with no police response.  End comment.) 
 
Soldiers and State, Municipal Police Exchange Gunfire 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
5.  (SBU) According to media reports, on the night of October 
12, the army received an anonymous phone call alerting it to an 
exchange of cash filled briefcases between elements of organized 
crime and police units in the neighborhood of Santa Martha in 
Escobedo, a municipality of metropolitan Monterrey.  The army 
deployed to the location in Santa Martha shortly after midnight 
 
MONTERREY 00000386  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
on the morning of October 13, where soldiers confronted state 
and municipal police units. 
 
6.  (SBU) Further details of this confrontation are unclear. 
One source claims that a conflict ensued, with soldiers striking 
four to five police officers, and somebody discharged a firearm. 
 According to this account, as soldiers attempted to leave the 
area, they were met by a second group of approximately 70 state 
and municipal police officers and an exchange of gunfire ensued 
in which only one police officer was injured.  (Note:  Pablo 
Tomargo, Director of the state's Center of Computing, 
Communication, Coordination and Control (C5) told the media that 
a confirmed source called the C5 to alert it to the initial 
conflict between soldiers and police, resulting in a second 
large deployment of state security forces.  End note.)  Another 
source presents a slightly different story, suggesting that four 
soldiers attempted to search a group of state police they met in 
a gas station, who resisted the soldiers, and, joined by more 
police, actually surrounded them and threatened them with arms. 
According to this source, the situation was defused and the 
soldiers released on the condition that the Seventh Military 
Zone would identify the soldiers, and in case of legal 
proceedings, would submit them to military justice.  This 
version of events concludes with state and municipal police 
voicing invectives against state Secretary of Public Security 
Carlos Juaregui, whose agency oversees state police operations. 
 
Comment: 
-------- 
 
7.  (SBU) Post acknowledges that neither version of this 
conflict seems credible.  More significantly, officials have 
done little to clarify the details of the confrontation, instead 
making efforts to minimize the event.  In a public meeting 
between state Secretary of Government Javier Trevino, Secretary 
of Public Security Carlos Juaregui, Attorney General Alejandro 
Garza, and Seventh Military Zone army commanders of the, 
officials dismissed the confrontation as an "argument between 
cousins."  Secretary Trevino was careful to emphasize that the 
event "did not represent a conflict between institutions, but a 
concrete situation between individuals."  He did acknowledge 
that some individuals had been detained, and one injured in the 
foot; however, according to Escobedo Mayor Margarita Lopez, five 
policemen appear to have been beaten, with one suffering a 
concussion, and another fractured ribs.  (Note: this is not the 
first time security forces have faced off against each other in 
Monterrey.  On June 8 of this year, municipal police, many also 
from Escobedo, engaged in a tense standoff with Federal Police 
in an attempt to prevent the detention of a colleague accused of 
working with the Gulf Cartel.  Army units later stripped these 
municipal police of their long arms (reftel A.) 
 
Things Likely to Get Worse Before They Get Better 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
8.  (SBU) While all three of these events have antecedents in 
the prior year, it seems that the open defiance on the part of 
organized crime as well as the tension between security forces 
has increased in recent weeks.  This takes place in the context 
of new state and municipal administrations taking office and 
proposing dramatic changes intended to confront organized crime, 
ranging from Governor Medina's initiative to unify municipal and 
state police forces under a single command to the formation of a 
special "cleansing" unit to search out criminals under San 
Pedro's Mayor Elect Mauricio Fernandez (reftel B).  At an 
October 16 meeting with the Consul General and Legatt, incoming 
Nuevo Leon state Attorney General Alejandro Garza y Garza 
acknowledged drug cartel infiltration of city, state and even 
federal police.  It seems likely that with a new team in charge, 
many extant agreements between compromised security forces and 
criminal groups are falling apart.  Reforms to public security 
forces proposed by new leadership - if effective at all - will 
take significant time to realize any real gains.  Meanwhile, 
Nuevo Leon will likely see a continued increase in violence as 
competing forces struggle to reach a new equilibrium. 
WILLIAMSON