09/16/11 — Violence in the state of Nuevo León led to 19 murders in the past four days, despite the presence of 300,000 Mexican Army troops and federal agents patrolling highways and municipalities leading up to Friday’s September 16 Independence Day celebrations.
The city of Monterrey reported 15 murders Thursday, some of which included relatives of policeman Miguel Angel Barraza, who participated in the Casino Royale attack on August 25. Barraza is one of six suspects arrested in connection with the arson attack on the Monterrey casino last month. Since his arrest, he has identified at least 20 Los Zetas members. Officials reported a retaliatory triple murder that targeted Barraza’s father, stepmother, and half brother in the Valle Morelos neighborhood of Monterrey, where the victims were shot by gunmen at close range. Jorge Domene Zambrano, public security spokesman of the Nuevo León State Government, announced the murders of Miguel Angel Sandoval, 54, his wife Maria Dolores Reyna Rivas, 52, and son, Misael Barraza Orlando Reyna, 24. To read more about Barraza’s involvement in the casino attack, click here.
In addition to the Barraza-related murders the past few days, a body was recovered displaying signs of torture, with tied hands and numerous bullet wounds on September 15 in downtown Monterrey. Two other executions were reported in Ciudad Juárez and the recovered bodies of transit agents Apodaca Marco Antonio Torres Vázquez, José Luis Gaona López, and Adal Eliseo Arriaga Mendoza were also found on Carlos Salinas de Gortari Boulevard.
During the week leading up to Mexico’s Independence Day, which saw heightened security across the country, concerns regarding police corruption also became an issue. Spokesman Domene confirmed that 52 of 150 police officers from Santa Catarina, Nuevo León were transferred Wednesday to the State Academy for the next two weeks to undergo psychometric and controls of confidence as reliability tests. “The operation follows the control evaluation process of trust. The last one we did in a similar fashion was in the town of Juárez, now it’s on to Santa Catarina,” said Domene. Despite the increased amount of policing around the national Independence Day, Monterrey and the state of Nuevo León nevertheless witnessed this high number of drug related killings in just a few day span.