NPR Story
7:04 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Hard To Tell Who's Lying In Drug War Case Dismissals

With the recent dismissal of a trio of high-profile corruption cases in Mexico, the country’s new administration appears to be distancing itself from the last vestiges of former President Felipe Calderón’s war on drugs.

The first case involved Noe Ramirez, the former drug czar, arrested in 2008 for taking monthly $450,000 bribes from the Beltrán Leyva brothers. The money came in a black briefcase, we were always told. The case was dismissed in mid-April when a judge found the key witness lied, and prosecutors may have made up their evidence against him. In this story from The Associated Press, Ramirez’ predecessor says he was arrested in revenge for taking down Gerardo Garay, the then-acting chief of federal police.

Then came retired Army general Tomas Angeles Dauahare. Arrested, he says, for criticizing the president then appearing at a rally supporting now-president Enrique Peña Nieto, who was campaigning at the time.

Both men were arrested following the testimony of an informant named "Jennifer." Milenio newspaper identified the informant as Roberto López Nájera more than a year ago. The Associated Press says “Jennifer” is now living in the United States.

The third case was one brought against Humberto Moreira, the former governor of Coahuila.

The Beltrán Leyva brothers will always a remain an enigma in Mexico’s narco lore. Never high profile, the brothers split from the Sinaloa Federation in early 2008 and launched much of the mayhem in northwestern Mexico and Mexico City during the next several years. The arrests of Ramriez and Dauhare came during the early years in the split. It was a fascinating series of events and it happened quickly.

But the question remains, did Calderón’s people lie in order to build revenge cases? Or are prosecutors lying now in yet another politically driven strategy? An uncomfortable question, perhaps, but given the machinations that led to the arrests in the first place, hardly unfounded.

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