Monday, July 19, 2010

The Car Bombing in Juarez: And, Narco-Message in Juarez Warns FBI and DEA

Last night someone, presumably members of the Juarez cartel, placed a narco-message on the fence of a primary school on the corner of Jesús Escobar and Municipio Libre, saying, "FBI and DEA, start investigating officials who give support to the Sinaloa cartel, because if not, we will use more car bombs (against) those federal agents."

The message goes on to say, "if corrupt federal agents are not arrested in the next 15 days we will load another car with 100 kilos of C-4."

Last Thursday, July 15, car bombing was introduced for the first time into the current Juarez war. While there are still details that are unclear, this is what I've been able to piece together from various published sources, including La Polaka, Diario de Juarez, Blog del Narco, and Alfredo Corchado's story in the Dallas Morning News. I was out of town for the past few days, often out of range of the news, so I didn't report on it.

Just before 7:30 p.m. last Thursday evening, Guillermo Ortiz Collazo, 50, a well known medical doctor, ran from his office with his son to investigate cries for help coming from an automobile parked on the street near the corner of 16 de Septiembre and Bolivia, near the downtown area. A man inside the car had been shot and was screaming for help. As they reached the scene Dr. Ortiz asked his son to run back to his office to retrieve his medical bag. As his son entered the building car with the injured man blew up, from a dose of about 10 kilos of C-4 explosives, killing his father, two policemen who had just arrived at the scene, and a musician to happened to be in the way. Eleven persons were injured. The injured man in the car, also dead, was Cesar Gamiño, 31, the owner of an auto repair shop a few blocks away. He was dressed as a policeman, apparently a ruse to attract law enforcement officers to the scene. Military officials later said they believed the bomb was detonated through a cell phone that was in the car. The bomb went off at about 7:30 p.m., right after the arrival of two police cars.

Initial reports suggested the bomb was a reprisal for the recent arrest of Armando Acosta Guerrero (aka "El 35"), presumed top operative for "La Linea," the armed force of the Juarez cartel. Acosta is said to have been responsible for coordinating and carrying out kidnapping, extortions, and drug trafficking operations in downtown Juarez. The Juarez cartel did claim responsibility for the attack and warned of further such attacks. For some time now, narco-messages left in the city have complained that federal authorities are protecting or favoring the Sinaloa cartel, an accusation firmly denied by the federal government. Following the car bombing Mexican authorities invited DEA and FBI agents to Juarez to assist in the investigation.

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