Bloody Attack on Police in Mexico Raises Jalisco Cartel’s Profile…Insight Crime

I have been busy with other stuff the last few days, but I have not seen any analysis (or even speculation?) about this event in Jalisco other than the Mexican government’s focus on the CJNG. Has there been any mention of the fact that one of the original leaders of the original Guadalajara Cartel–Rafael Caro Quintero–was released from prison in 2013 and has been at large since, despite manhunts and rewards offered by both Mex-Feds and US-DEA? There were also rumors months ago that Ernesto Carrillo–his older compatriot from Guadalajara and also uncle of Juarez cartel leaders Amado and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes might be released from prison. Both of these men were tried en absentia in the US for the torture and murder of Enrique Camarena in 1985 and never extradited by Mexico despite years of requests from the US. Their incarceration in Mexico stemmed from nebulous drug charges and not specifically the murder of Camarena. Numerous Guadalajara state officials as well as Mexican federal cops and politicians were also involved in the Camarena case and some of them were convicted in federal court in the US in the early 1990s. The analysis below also does not mention that the slaughter in Ciudad Juarez began in early 2008 with the murders of state and municipal police working for the Juarez cartel and that this was the catalyst for the federal police and military incursions into Chihuahua in March 2008. The death toll in Juarez by the end of 2014 was 12,000+ and much higher if homicides from the whole state of Chihuahua are counted. -Molly

22 murders in March 2015–lowest number since 2007; more bodies found in Valle de Juarez

There were 22 murders in Juarez in month of March 2015…the lowest figure in any month since 2007. The total for 2015 is now 81.

January 30

February 29

March 22

There were 18 days with no homicides during March 2015. That is the good news.
However, 8 of the 22 murder victims this month were women–a higher number and higher percentage than has been seen in recent years–36 percent of the victims were women. The victims ranged in age from 16 to 51 and they were killed under a variety of circumstances according to the details in the El Diario article below.
On March 7, Alicia Diaz Murillo, 51, was tortured and strangled in colonia Barrio Alto–the crime has not been clarified.

On March 8, Lluvia Graciela López López, 18, was killed by her husband Edgar Franco.

On March 11, Maribel Delgado Rodríguez, 32, and her husband Jesús Manuel Monárrez Arreola, 40, were beaten to death in the Colonia Granjas de Santa Elena.

Ivonne Adriana Valenzuela Gómez, 45, and her daughter Cinthia Berenice Valdez Valenzuela, 25, were murdered on March 15. Their bodies were abandoned on the street in the colonia Fray García de San Francisco and both had been stabbed to death.

Perla Nalleli Monreal Vázquez, 23, was shot to death on March 18 in colonia Virreyes.

On March 21, Esmeralda Guadalupe Galván Guerrero, 16, was found dead and partially buried in a vacant lot in Parajes de San José. She had been strangled. The young girl had disappeared around March 9 near the University.

On March 22, María Luisa Méndez López, 36, was killed in colonia Lomas de Morelos.

According to the Fiscalia, the unresolved cases are related to the local drug market (el narcomenudeo).

Also posted below, El Diario reported new findings of human remains in the Valle de Juarez–possibly 8 or more bodies. No mention of when these people were killed. But these deaths are not included in the number of murders for March or possibly for any other period.

MARCH 2015

Cierra marzo con 22 asesinatos, la cifra más baja ¡desde 2007!

Luz del Carmen Sosa

El Diario | Martes 31 Marzo 2015 | 23:22 hrs

El mes de marzo concluyó con 22 homicidios dolosos registrados en diferentes puntos de la ciudad, de acuerdo con el seguimiento periodístico que se lleva de este delito en la cobertura diaria de hechos y la información oficial de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSPM) y la Fiscalía General del Estado (FGE). Este es el número más bajo de asesinatos registrado en esta frontera desde antes de que comenzara el período de mayor violencia, que arrancó en enero de 2008.

El Diario | Peritos de la Fiscalía General del Estado en la zona del poblado Doctor Porfirio Parra

Localizan más osamentas en el Valle


El Diario | Martes 31 Marzo 2015 | 23:51 hrs

Por segundo día consecutivo, personal de la Fiscalía General del Estado (FGE) Zona Norte realizó excavaciones en el Valle de Juárez, donde se presume se localizaron varios restos humanos. …

Q & A with Morgan Smith

Morgan Smith is a freelance writer and photographer whose work can be found in the Denver Post, Santa Fe New Mexican, Denver Business Journal, New Mexico Business Journal, El Paso Inc., New Mexico Mercury and La Voz Colorado among others.


By Virginia Isaad

  1. Juarez has a reputation as an impoverished war-torn city and yet you’ve written about and visited places like Vision in Action, El Árbol de Vida, and Reto a la Juventud. What do you think about the fact that such places exist in the midst of such violence and poverty?

What I discovered some five years ago is that there are a handful of very heroic and dedicated people who are committed to helping others, no matter what the danger to them might be. My first encounter was with a Mexican woman named Martina Ontiveros who had lived in Santa Fe but went to Palomas to live in and volunteer at an orphanage named La Casa de Amor Para Ninos. When I asked her if she was afraid – it was very dangerous in Palomas at the time – she simply said that this was her mission. The same is true for people like Elenita Porras at Reto a la Juventud or Pastor Galvan or Dr. Vicente Pantoja or many others I have met. It’s their personal dedication that keeps these programs going.

  1. What stands out to you the most when you visit such places? Why?

The physical conditions of these places is usually not what we would expect in the US but the spirit and the sense of optimism and caring is always extraordinary and I very much enjoy being a part of it and also trying to publicize it.

  1. Through the years, how has the government’s involvement changed, if at all? Has there been an increase in donations and awareness through the media?

I don’t see any additional government presence in the areas I go to. Traveling through poor colonias in Juarez, for example, I just don’t see the presence of whatever social services they might have. Pretty much all I see is the presence of these private, non profit humanitarian groups.

That’s a neutral comment, suggesting, for example, that the government does little for the poor. On the negative side, one on going frustration is the way the Mexican customs officials hinder the work of these organizations by often blocking them from bringing in food or clothing or building materials for housing construction.

  1. Have you ever seen or heard of a place like Vision in Action? What is it about patients caring for one another that seems to work in this case?

I have probably visited Vision in Action 60 or 70 times in the last 4 plus years and am always amazed at how effective many of the patients – some like Elia who can’t even talk coherently – are at calming and consoling others. It’s evidence that even people who are deeply disturbed or have committed serious crimes can and do respond to affection and an environment of caring. This is an important lesson for our US mental facilities where there are very strict rules about patients are allowed to do.

The basis of this is Pastor Galvan and his insistence that his patients be treated with dignity and the many things he does to treat them as we would treat people without illnesses. For example, I was there on February 14 when several patients got married.

  1. Do you think if organizations like Vision in Action had governmental aid that they would sustain the system as is? What you seem to be most in awe of is how the patients help each other but if more money were to come in that would probably change. How do you feel about that?

I was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives many years and Chairman of the budget committee. As a result, I came to know many state programs in the social services area. Although funding was always important, what set the really good ones apart was leadership, not money. Vision in Action would stay the same if it had government support but only if it had the leadership of someone like a Galvan. How do you find that leadership? That’s the tough question.

Last, I would add that these characteristics – providing work which makes people feel productive, organizing the same kinds of events that “normal” people have such as the wedding I mentioned, showing affection, focusing on dignity – seem intangible as compared to, for example, therapy sessions in US facilities but they work. So Galvan is not only responsible for the survival of his patients but he has also given us some new insights on what it takes to change human behavior.

Read Morgan Smith’s previous guest post on Vision in Action here

Work, pray, love…in Ciudad Juárez By Megan Cullip

This week’s guest posting is from Megan Cullip. A chaplain and mental health professional, she wrote this reflection on her time spent at Vision en Accion, the shelter for homeless, mentally disabled people in Juárez, Mexico.


In 2008, when I was in my junior year of college, I saw a YouTube video about El Pastor, a man in Juárez, Mexico who had built an asylum in the Chihuahuan desert for those who are drug addicted, mentally ill, or developmentally disabled. I had a lump in my throat within three minutes of the video. I always had both an intellectual fascination and a tender-heartedness toward people with atypical brains. El Pastor, in the video, said that people referred to the residents at the asylum as: “human trash.” But what I saw, when I went there, was far from a dump.

Fast-forward about six years, the mental asylum in Juárez had been cemented in the back of my mind for some time. I had a deeply passionate compulsion to go.

I work in a state psychiatric hospital in the United States. We serve a wide variety of individuals with a spectrum of mental health issues: schizophrenia, bipolar, major depression, substance abuse, personality disorders. Because we are a state institution, we receive ample government funding. We are a multi-million dollar facility with about 1,200 staff members and, on average, 420 patients. We have professionals with lots of education and specialized experience. We have access to enough meds for everyone to receive whatever dose the doctor deems necessary, daily.

But we have codes daily. We have much conflict, patients fighting patients, patients fighting staff, patients harming themselves. We consider emergency restraints, where a patient has to be restrained in a chair or bed, “a treatment fail.” And it is.
Our patients are scheduled to attend groups throughout the day: psycho-education, medication management, spirituality group, individual counseling, music therapy etc.
But the patients rarely work with their hands, though some do get the opportunity to work in the greenhouse or the copy center.

Vision in Action has done something incredible without having millions of dollars to spend, nor teams of specialized professionals. I remember walking into the kitchen at the asylum. I was immediately handed a spicy dish of pork smothered in sauce and a plate of cheese quesadillas. Every morning, afternoon, and evening, the ladies and gentlemen who worked in the kitchen would offer me food-refried bean burritos with avocado slices, bottles of soda. They delivered their hospitality and quality cooking with broad smiles. They make 360 meals a day, and they don’t work in shifts.

During the day, people are working. They are cleaning, cooking, building, helping other low functioning patients perform their daily living tasks. When I was there, a new patient named Monica was dropped off from the local hospital. The other patients were at the gate waiting to receive her. She was placed in a cell for observation. She was despondent, when I asked her how she was. Monica appeared the same way many of our patients do upon their arrival at the hospital. But, as I looked around at the other patients at Vision in Action, I saw Monica’s potential. Monica would not meet with a treatment team. She would not be scheduled for groups. But I would not be surprised if, as I write this, she is putting her hand to cleaning, or laundry, or any of the other options. I wouldn’t be surprised if another patient is making friends with her and helping her adjust to this strange place of dignity and hospitality in the desert.

I had the privilege to speak at length with the medical doctor who works hard (for free) to try and give the patients the best quality of life possible. He showed me the supply of Haldol and Klonopin and other psychotropic medications that he locks in a tiny room in the asylum, out of reach from patients. If I were to take my own personal medicine cabinet, stuff it with psychotropic meds, and multiply it by three, that would be the maximum amount of medication that I found at the asylum. It was clearly not enough for 120 people, and definitely not enough for a consistent daily medication routine. The doctor told me that sometimes he has to cut one Haldol pill in half to serve two patients. It’s not enough. It’s inconsistent.

There is not a doubt in my mind that medication is helpful. And Vision in Action lacks the appropriate amount.

But there is also no question about the “success” (if you can ever talk about success when you talk about people) of this asylum. I did not see misery there. I saw sickness and poverty, yes. But I saw joy and community. I saw faith. I saw people who poured themselves out for others. I saw an energetic man in black slacks and a black blazer, named El Pastor. I saw him share the story and fundraise and care for his people, everyday crossing the border, praying to Jesus. Rabbi Abraham Heschel, when he marched to Montgomery during the civil rights movement, said: “I felt my feet were praying.” This is what I saw El Pastor, and all of those who help Vision and Action, doing.

Throughout the week I met many people involved in many different things: art dealers, curious givers, and a man with a landscaping business building an irrigation system for the asylum on his own dime. These people came and went, like the wind passing through from different directions. My last afternoon at the asylum, a pastor from Oklahoma came to pick up blankets. The asylum had extra blankets that they wanted to donate. The pastor from Oklahoma was going to take these blankets to natives on a reservation, who lived in caves. The poor were donating to the poor.

At Vision in Action, I saw a lot of my own values at work: faith, community, hard work, preserving human dignity. Many of my coworkers at the hospital feel similarly as I do about patient care and best practices. But the system is very overwhelming, with a lot of red tape and the like. It is frustrating. Change comes slowly. In many ways, it seems, we are slaves to liability. We are under fear of litigation or scrutiny from authorities. It is hard and almost unfair to compare a large state psychiatric hospital in America with a small faith-based asylum in the deserts of Mexico. My hope for state psychiatric hospitals in the US is that they would look a little more like Vision in Action. I hope that patients are allowed to use their hands, to do good work. I hope that everyone treats each other with dignity, treating people as whole people and not diagnoses’ on a page. I hope that programming and schedules would be seen as one of many tools and not a prescription that will magically heal every brain and heart. I hope that staff, at the end of the day, will be able to utter: “I felt my feet were praying.”


Megan Cullip works as a chaplain at a state psychiatric institution in the United States. She can be reached at

30 Homicides In Juarez In February; 67 So Far In 2015

The El Diario report posted late Saturday (Feb 28) reported 29 homicides in Juarez in February.  But late Saturday night, a young man was shot to death by a police officer bringing the total to 30. Channel 44 reported 31. These discrepancies have been fairly common over time. El Diario reported 37 homicides in January; Channel 44 reported 36.

Three victims in February were women, exactly 10 percent of the total number of people killed. This female to male ratio is also fairly constant when looking at Juarez homicides from 1993 to the present.

Mexicanos en Exilio Press Conference, Wednesday, Feb 25, Offices of Carlos Spector

(Summary in English)
The Mexicans in Exile organization will hold a press conference Wed Feb 25 at the Offices of Carlos Spector. The group will discuss violence in the Valle de Juarez and the fact that government forces have allowed criminal groups to exercise control over the region and its residents. Since 2009, the population of the Valle de Juarez has been persecuted, displaced, murdered and disappeared and the government has done nothing to stop this violence. The state has systematically ignored complaints presented against criminals in the region. In Mexico, in Chihuahua and in the Valle de Juarez, authorized crime rules. Mexicans living in exile are victims of authorized crimes of the state.
Subject: Mexicanos en Exilio Press Conference, Wednesday, February 25
Papacho, Toga y Meño: Crimen Autorizado. El Valle de Juárez exige justicia y el arresto de los oficiales que facilitaron los delitos en contra de los ciudadanos de la región.

1430 E Yandell, El Paso, Tx.
Febrero 25, 2015
13 hrs

Este 25 de febrero Mexicanos en Exilio insiste en señalar su posicionamiento ante la violencia y el despojo en México y en el Valle de Juárez, Chihuahua: fue y sigue siendo el Estado.

El pasado 18 de febrero la Fiscalía General de la Zona norte presentó, en calidad de detenido, a Mauricio Luna Aguilar a quien se vincula con al menos 20 homicidios en el Valle. Al lado de Mauricio fueron presentados otros integrantes del cártel de Sinaloa: Isidro Soto Aguilar, alias el “pantera” y líder de la célula; Juan Carlos Nuria Gómez, alias el “parral”; Karina Carrillo Griego; Jonathan Arturo Torres Rodríguez, alias el “Jhon”; Antonio Carrillo Griego, alias el “Toño y/o el tio”; y Juan Cuellar Cereceres, alias “Quintana.

A estos arrestos se agrega el homicidio de los también integrantes del cártel de Sinaloa Leonardo Rubén Morales Rodríguez, alias “el Toga” y Jesús Manuel Morales Rodríguez, alias “El Meño”. “El Toga” había sido arrestado en 2012 y liberado pocos meses después.

Desde 2009 la población del Valle de Juárez ha sido perseguida, despojada, asesinada y desaparecida sin que el gobierno haya hecho nada; sistemáticamente fueron ignoradas las denuncias y quejas presentadas contra estos individuos en las distintas instancias de impartición de justicia ¿De qué otra forma habría sido posible que una sola persona asesinara a 20 personas?

En México, en Chihuahua y en el Valle de Juárez impera el crimen autorizado.

Frente a este teatro, levantamos nuestra voz. Estaremos presentes víctimas del Crimen autorizado y del Estado:

  • Jorge Reyes Salazar
  • Israel Estrella Chávez
  • Lucía del Carmen Rangel
  • Gerardo Gamez
  • Víctor García Archuleta y Armando Archuleta
  • Sandra Flores
  • Miguel Murguía
For more information, contact:
Alfredo Holguin (President of Mexicanos en Exilio): (915) 727-8344
Carlos Spector (Attorney for Mexicanos en Exilio): (915) 544-0441

13 Disappeared Per Day During EPN Tenure…Proceso

A new study of reported disappearances in the official statistics in Mexico shows that during the EPN administration (Dec 2012-present) there have been 13 disappearances each day–a total of 9,384 people in 22 months. This is more than double to rate of disappearances registered during the previous administration of Felipe Calderon. These are some of the findings from an examination of the databases of the National Register of Missing or Disappeared Persons from Jan 2007-Oct 2014 maintained by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System. The database contains a total of 26,569 cases. The article below is an excerpt from the current issue of Proceso, 1997. It includes this link to numbers of disappearances per state. – Molly

Con Peña Nieto, 13 Desaparecidos Al Día (Proceso)

7 People Murdered So Far This Weekend In Juarez

At least 7 people have been killed in violent incidents in Juarez so far this weekend. On Saturday a municipal policeman was shot but survived the attack and injured the shooter. The policeman was taken to the hospital. Later on Saturday, near midnight, 5 people were killed and at least 4 others were injured when an “armed comando” attacked a house party in the Colonia Felipe Angeles. The report says at least 30 people were at the party–a birthday celebration–and included women and children. The attackers also set fire to several vehicles on the property. The owner of the house ran a tortilleria.

In another area of the city known as Granjero, a couple were attacked and the man was killed. The woman apparently survived. People in the area indicated that in the past several days there have been several execution-style murders and the residents are fearful.

Early Sunday morning, a man was executed at the Tequila Bar in the Pronaf zone near the Plaza de las Americas mall (this is a traditional tourist zone near the UACJ and the Las Americas bridge to central El Paso). -Molly

Murders And Disappearances In Juarez And The Valle De Juarez This Weekend

In the past couple of days there have been at least 4 murders in separate incidents in Juarez. Also, yesterday, 4 men were abducted in the Valle de Juarez. Also in today’s El Diario, anonymous residents in the Valle de Juarez report that many people have been killed or disappeared and that entire families are fleeing to the US. The links to these stories are below… And a brief note from Canal 44 on the abductions in the Valle de Juarez yesterday.  -molly

January 23-24

7 murders in Juarez Jan 22

Jan 23rd:

El Diario posted a note after 11pm with the 7th murder victim of the day. A man killed inside his mechanic shop.  I note that the “ejecutan” verb is coming back into the headlines… This term is used for those assumed to be killed in drug-gang-related disputes. It means that there will be no police investigation. – Molly

Ejecutan A Hombre Dentro De Su Taller Mecánico (El Diario) 

Sicarios Entran A Taller Mecánico Y Ejecutan Al Dueño (La Parada Digital)

Jan 22:

There were 2 more murders this afternoon in Juarez, bring the total for the day so far to 6.  The 5th victim was driving with his wife in the colonia Nuevo Hipodromo when his attackers chased the car and forced him out and shot him in front of his wife. Later, the body of another man was found inside an abandoned store in the El Barreal neighborhood. He had been tortured and wrapped in a blanket.

No one was apprehended in either incident.  molly

Tiran un encobijado en El Barreal (El Diario) 

Lo bajan de auto y lo asesinan frente a su esposa (El Diario) 

Four homicides were reported in Juarez before 8:00 am this morning. Three men were shot to death inside a house in Barrio Azul. Another man was found tied up and wrapped in a blanket inside his house in another neighborhood. – Molly

Hallan muerto a su compañero de trabajo (El Diario)

Asesinan a tres hombres en casa de la colonia Barrio Azul (El Diario)