* Due to technical difficulties, the publication of this article was delayed from its original postdate of April 18, 2013.
04/18/13 – On separate actions on April 15 and 17, two high-ranking Mexican government officials accused of ties with organized crime were released, both arrested as part of the “Operation Cleansing” (Operación Limpieza) launched by the Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) during the Calderón administration (2006-2012) to prosecute public servants for supporting the Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO).
The first official released was Noé Ramírez Mandujano, former head of the PGR’s Office of Special Investigations on Organized Crime (Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada, SIEDO), who was arrested in November 2008 for allegedly taking bribes from the BLO. The federal judge on the case found Ramírez Mandujano innocent and ordered his release because the PGR allegedly fabricated evidence and illegally obtained testimonies. At the time of the arrest in 2008, Ramírez Mandujano was the attaché of PGR at the United Nations Office in Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna.
The second official released was Major General Tomás Ángeles Duahare, former Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, SEDENA) and former military attaché at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., who was arrested on May 15, 2012. As reported by the Justice in Mexico Project on August 9, 2012, a federal judge issued formal arrest orders for four generals of the Mexican Army (SEDENA), along with a lieutenant and a major accused of working with the BLO to traffic cocaine through Mexico. Ángeles Duahare and the other officials were accused of accepting bribes from the criminal organization in exchange for intelligence regarding military operations and protection. The order of the federal judge to release Ángeles Duahare came after the PGR dropped the charges against him.
Both Ramírez Mandujano and Ángeles Duahare stated that the accusations against them were false and intended to harm them. Ramírez Mandujano even accused former President Calderón of lying to Mexican people, saying both the strategy against organized crime and the Operation Cleansing were a farce. President Enrique Peña Nieto commented on the issue, and assured that the exoneration of Ramírez Mandujano is a lesson for prosecutors to present solid evidence and to better prepare the cases, recognizing that under the new criminal accusatorial justice system (Nuevo Sistema de Justicia Penal, NSJP)—currently under its implementation phase—the prosecution ought to better substantiate accusations, and be more responsible and obeying of the rule of law, since the system entails, overall, more openness and transparency.
Castillo, García. “Detienen a Noé Ramírez por supuestos nexus con el cártel de los Beltrán Leyva.” La Jornada. November 21, 2008.
“Six current and former military officials formally charged with aiding Beltrán Leyva Cartel.” Justice in Mexico Project. August 9, 2012.
Mosso, Rubén. “Ordena juez liberación inmediata de Ramírez Mandujano.” Milenio. April 15, 2013.
Patiño Torres, David. “Exoneración de Mandujano es una lección: EPN.” Sexenio. April 16, 2013.
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Vicenteño, David. “Liberan al general Ángeles Dauahare; PGR retira acusaciones por narcotráfico.” Excélsior. April 18, 2013.
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