Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cd. Juarez Under Unofficial Martial Law

Cd. Juarez is now essentially operating under unofficial martial law, a condition that prevails when the military takes over control of the normal administration of justice. Unlike declared martial law, which imposes a set of rules over the population, such as curfew hours, a suspension of habeas corpus, and military tribunals, in Cd. Juarez the armed forces have been limited to occupying most of the positions of municipal law enforcement. The judicial system has remained in civilian hands.

With the arrival today of 1500 troops from the Sixth Light Infantry Brigade in Mexico City and 1250 soldiers yesterday, the total number of army troops assigned to provide security to Cd. Juarez is now 7,300. When you add to that the 2300 agents of the federal police who have been sent by President Felipe Calderon to the city, there are now over 9600 federal law enforcement agents guarding Cd. Juarez. Under normal conditions the city employs about 1500 police officers.

Tomorrow morning, March 16, military officers will take over the top positions of the municipal police, including Chief of Public Security, Chief of Police, chiefs of the six police stations of Cd. Juarez, director of the city’s Special Police, Chief of Delta Group, and Director of Rapid Response. In addition a military officer will act as a liaison between the military units assigned to the city and the Secretary of Defense’s Office in Mexico City. The officers have been sent to Cd. Juarez from various places in Mexico, and some are retired. Still to be filled by officers are the positions of Director of Traffic and the warden of the municipal jail, which rioted last week when Azteca gang inmates seized part of the jail, leaving twenty dead.

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