Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mexican Drug Lords Slay Police Chief in cold blood

This occurred just over the border with Douglas, AZ. How long before the Mexican drug cartel decides to murder Border Agents and sheriffs in border towns? When will our government recognize the clear and present danger at our borders?????

Slaying of police chief hits town hard

By Brady McCombs
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.28.2007

AGUA PRIETA, Mexico — Hundreds of people gathered at a funeral home Tuesday in this border town to pay their respects to slain Police Chief Ramón Tacho Verdugo while state police began work on finding his killers and their motive.

Tacho was gunned down Monday about 5 p.m. as he was leaving the municipal police headquarters in Agua Prieta, across the border from Douglas.

He was pronounced dead a few hours later at a hospital from internal bleeding caused by five gunshot wounds, according to Mexican media reports.

He had been police chief in Agua Prieta since September 2006 and had worked 30 years in law enforcement, including stints as chief in Naco and Cananea and with the state police, said friends and family.

The Sonoran state police weren't releasing any information about the slaying.

But area residents and town officials believe it was related to the work Tacho had done to stop the narcotics traffickers.

The arrests of 39 narcotics traffickers during the six months Tacho was in command likely played into the killing, said Antonio Cuadras Garcia, the mayor of Agua Prieta.

"We still don't know who it was, but we have an intuition as to why," said Cuadras in Spanish. "Commander Tacho achieved an intense, impeccable and efficient labor during the months he was in charge of the Municipal Police Department."

Oscar De La Torre, Mexican Consul General in Douglas, echoed Cuadras' comments after stopping by the funeral.

"This is the reaction to the great results from the program 'Frontera Segura,' for which he was responsible," said De La Torre in Spanish.

The coldblooded slaying of the city's highest-ranking law-enforcement official had community members worried.

"We don't have bulletproof vests or loaded guns," said Mario Botello, 21. "What can we expect?"
What happens if narcotics smugglers open fire on somebody ordering a hot dog from the stand where he works, Botello asked. "It makes you scared, yeah," he said.

Workers at the car wash across the street from police headquarters, Auto Lava Daniel, ran into the offices when they heard the gunfire, said Susan Peralta, manager at the car wash. No one was hurt.

Agua Prieta and the region won't be as safe with Tacho gone, said Heriberto Juvera, of Cananea.
"There is no policeman left with such a strong character to stop the delinquents." Juvera said.
Tacho was well-respected for his toughness and investigative skills, said Ramon Perez and Fernando Perez, local jewelry-store owners who called Tacho a friend. They believe that it was narcotics traffickers who committed the crime. [ Ya think?]

"A good policeman affects the interests of people doing bad work," Ramon Perez said.
A constant flow of friends, family, fellow law-enforcement officers and community members throughout the day Tuesday visited the Funeraria Renacimiento, just two blocks south of the U.S.-Mexican border.

They filled the small chapel where the body was displayed with floral arrangements, said prayers and lingered outside for hours talking about Tacho.

"He was a very good chief," said Sgt. Martin Lopez about his boss. "It hit us hard because he was good with us."

Drug Enforcement Administration officials are looking into the slaying but didn't have information to comment on the motive or what it might mean for the region. [ I know what it means for the region - our southern neighbors will become even MORE lawless and dangerous to us]

There is a special Mass and ceremony planned for today at 10 a.m. in Agua Prieta for Tacho, city officials said.

● Contact Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or bmccombs@azstarnet.com.

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