Justice in Mexico

Juárez Chief of Police allegedly attacked by federal agents

Julian Leyzaola Pérez, the Secretary of Public Security in Ciudad Juárez. Photo Credit: El Universal

07/26/11 – The Secretary of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública) of Ciudad Juárez, Julian Leyzaola Pérez, reported that he was attacked by Federal Police agents on Monday July 25 while on his way to assist in controlling a shootout that broke out in a Ciudad Juárez prison. Leyzaola stated that his attacked unit did not fire back and that, once the outside agents ceased fire, he left his car to ask them if they knew it was his unit they were attacking. He allegedly did not receive an answer. Leyzaola, who was riding in an armored vehicle, was not injured in the alleged attack.

This is the second attack against Leyzaola since he took office on March 10, 2011. On June 23, a group of suspected extortionists attacked his convoy. On that occasion, Leyzaola’s escort repelled the aggression and wounded one of the assailants, while the other fled on foot. Authorities detained López Valles in connection with the ambush and seized a gun and a weapon’s magazine at the scene, reported the El Paso Times. Leyzaola, the former chief of police in Tijuana, is famous not only for reducing the levels of crime in the border city while under his command, but also for the accusations against him of human rights violations during his tenure there.

The shooting on Monday occurred during an incident at the Center for Social Re-adaptation for Municipal Adults (Centro de Readaptación Social para Adultos Municipal, Cereso) where inmates in rooms 16 and 17 broke into the detention area to attack 13 other prisoners. Seventeen people, including one woman, were killed while 20 others were injured during what is believed to be a clash between rival gangs. Roughly 40 custodians rendered statements at the Attorney General’s Office (Fiscalía General del Estado en la Zona Norte) after the confrontation.

In response to the violent shootout, Ciudad Juárez Mayor Héctor Murguía announced that the control of the municipality prison will be ceded to the state and that the control of the state’s prison will pass to the federal level. Murguía said that because of the violence that exists within the prison system, various authorities readily agreed to the change of command, which is scheduled for November. He therefore cautioned that, in the months leading up to the change, it will be quite difficult to ensure peace within Cereso due to the overcrowding of prisoners, which is a general problem that plagues Mexico.

For more information on Leyzaola, read here and here.


Flores, Aileen B. “Juárez Police Chief Julian Leyzaola survives assassination attempt.” El Paso Times. June 24, 2011 

Cruz, Juan Manuel. “Denuncian presunto ataque a Leyzaola.” El Universal. July 26, 2011 

Cruz, Juan Manuel. “Riña en penal de Juárez deja 17 internos muertos.” El Universal. July 26, 2011 

Redacción. “Ceden penal de Juárez a Federación.” Reforma. July 26, 2011.

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