In the latter group was Csar Alfonso Garca Ramrez, who had just returned home to Coahuila for a visit from his job in Texas. But he never came back. A. U.S. authorities inadvertently helped to cause the deaths of thousands of people in Allende, Mexico in 2011 after information they gathered was leaked to the Zetas cartel's leaders, according to journalist Ginger Thompson. An Allende police radio operator who worked closely with the shift commanders said in his declaration that a ranking Zetas memberwould sometimes come by the police station and take people from city jail cells with the full knowledge of the police director and commander, both of whom, he said, were paid by the Zetas. The Seminar on Violence of the Colegio de Mxico had access to many of these files in preparing its groundbreaking reports on Allende and a second report on how the Zetas gained control of authority structures in Coahuila, including the state prison in Piedras Negras. This was at about 7:30 or 8:00 AM on Saturday, March , 2011 Just past the entrance I could see some Allende municipal police trucks, and beneath these were armed people who I recognized as police.- Complaint of wife of victim Csar Alfonso Garca Ramrez, May 23, 2014. And after that I left.- Complaint of Hctor Reynaldo Prez Iruegas, May 25, 2011. And what I did, in that place, together with [Chucho] was carry containers filled with gasoline and diesel to the bodega, which was filled with hay. Access request to Mexicos National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), Freedom of Information Act request to DEA. The newly released files on Allende, including evidence gathered in the weeks and months immediately following the massacre, show just how inadequate these investigations have been. They erected a monument in Allende to honor the victims without fully determining their fates or punishing those responsible. Police acted as lookouts (halcones) for the group, collected extortion payments from local club owners on their behalf, and participated in the Zetas drug trafficking activities. They massacred 26 people in two days, including women and children . [W]e passed by the entrance of the ranch where I saw people practically in the street with hoods and black vests who had rifles [W]e passed by again on the way back to Allende, and through the opening I could seebecause from the road you could see all the way to the backthat there were about five or seven trucks, many people with rifles, and I also saw people piled up, like this was where the fire was coming from [I]t was something big like a bodega. That report, sponsored by a government-backed victims' rights commission and undertaken by scholars at the prestigious Colegio de Mexico, says that even now Mexican authorities show "less . They had brought people from Sabinas, among others an ex-federal highways official and other people from the municipalities of Zaragoza and Morelosthis was weeks after what happened in Allende.- Complaint of wife of murdered Zeta, November 13, 2014. Elvira Espinoza told investigators about the day, about a week later, when she found two of her three missing grandchildren at an orphanage in Piedras Negras. There was also a man by the name of [Everardo Elizondo,] who raised fighting cocks, and [Csar Alfonso Garca Ramrez] And how the people from the Zetas were shouting, hitting and mistreating these people!-Declaration of Allende volunteer firefighter Luis Gerardo Herrera Estrada, November 23, 2014, The chief of the fire department, Christian Alejandro Lpez Tamez, told investigators in a revised statement that, just like his colleagues, he was able to identify many of the faces he saw there, including the director and other top officials from the Allende police department. Or do you want the same thing to happen to you or to your families?-Declaration of Allende fire chief, December 17, 2014. It is not clear why members of the the military unit thatexamined the ranch did not secure the property or, evidently, take any additional steps to comprehend what was happening in Allende. Many needed the money. On the night of March 20, 2011, four firefighters arrived at a ranch along a stretch of rural highway linking the northern Mexico towns of Allende and Villa Unin. Witnesses describe in graphic detail how Los Zetas undermined and criminalized the public security forces of Allende, and how the latter routinely participated in kidnappings, murders, and other crimes on behalf of the group. Zaragoza said up to 60 Zetas assassins may have participated in the Allende operation, sweeping up people in the surrounding towns and dropping them off at the Garza Ranch. After what happened to my spouse in May 2010, approximately one year later, in June 2011, [his captor] started looking for me according to him because my ex-spouse put him in charge of telling [me] what had happened to him He told me many things related with acts of violence in the region and I knew from his own words that he was an assassin for the Zetas cartel, and as we built some trust, I asked him various things.- Complaint of wife of murdered Zeta, November 13, 2014, He told her how the Zetas had killed someones grandson, probably a reference to Mauricio Espinoza, whose grandmother, Elvira Espinoza, was one of the first to report disappearances in Allende. The acrid odor of diesel fuel hung in the air. Authorities investigating the massacre reported numerous hijackings of passenger buses on Mexican Federal Highway 101 in San Fernando, and the kidnapped victims were .  Literally stake or post, an estaca is a term used by Los Zetas for its assassination teams. An Army unit was sent to Rancho Garza to investigate. San Miguel de Allende might be voted the nicest town in Mexico by many travel magazines, but it is not safe at the moment and I advise you not to come here right now. He told her about other people from the region who the Zetas had kidnapped and killed, including a pregnant teenager and the nephew of the former mayor of Piedras Negras. More recently, Lpez Obradorsignaled his intentionto eliminate the autonomous state organ charged with guaranteeing access to human rights documents like these, the National Institute of Access to Public Information and Personal Data (INAI). [I]n fact, he sometimes came and went inside the cells to beat those who were locked up. That is to say, the [Garza] ranch. Diego Osorno, a reporter from the newspaperMilenio, has examined various new sources of evidence related to the Allende case in a series of recent articles. Fax: 202/994-7005Contact by email. * * * * *. As CrimeOnline previously reported, the victims were part of a faith group who lived in Sonora, an established faith-based city in Mexico, around 70 miles from Douglas, Arizona. According to multiple local media reports, the massacre happened on Wednesday afternoon when an armed group opened fire at the city hall of San Miguel Totolapan, resulting in the . Her brother-in-law, who also worked for the Garzas, arrived later and told her that her husband had been kidnapped. Elvira Espinoza and her husband were among the first to inform federal authorities about the violence, telling investigators that she and her husband reported the disappearance of Arturo, Liliana and the three children to the military garrison along Highway 57, just outside of Allende. In the U.S., the prosecutions of Reyes Arzate and others are likely to result in the collection of significant new evidence on the Allende case, including the testimony of Reyes himself, the statements of former Zetas, and key DEA records from the period in question. In a sworn statement, El Pjaro said the Zetas coordinated the kidnappings with high-ranking officials of the Allende municipal police department, who were present during the abductions and who carried the victims from the house to the ranch in a police patrol vehicle. The town's mayor believes 30 to 40 Allende families were exterminated, and he has a list of 34 houses that were destroyed. The six-part miniseries examines the lives of the victims of a cartel massacre at the Mexican border town of Allende. "Nos rene la necesidad de enfrentar como pas y como Estado . So I left the ranch in my truck and went home, and since that date I dont know anything about what happened to my husband.- Declaration of wife of heavy machinery mechanic for Rodolfo Garza, July 23, 2014. Outside the ranch entrance, the firefighters spotted officers and vehicles from the Allende police department.  The Mexican government signaled its intention to soften some of the more severe restrictions imposed by the new law. Seven people are gunned down at a streetside taco stand. Finally, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice recently confirmed, in a FOIA denial letter to the National Security Archive, that its investigation of the DEAs links to cartel violence in Mexicofirst announced in 2018is ongoing, a probe that may have significant implications for the Allende case and for U.S.-Mexico security cooperation more broadly.  A portion of the Prez Iruegas complaint was previously published by Zcalo, revealing some of the parts that were redacted in the version released by CNDH (shown here in brackets). Relatives of victims wait in anguish for news after a shooting July 1 at a drug rehabilitation center . Mexican Federal Police document bits of teeth recovered at the Garza Ranch, January 28, 2014(Source:Document 41: Forensic Anthropology Technical Report, April 11, 2014). While many of the corpses were probably destroyed in these larger fires, the Los Zetas cook interviewed on September 19, 2014,gave an especially detailed description of how he and El Chango together burned the bodies of at least three victims in individual barrels filled with diesel fuel. In January, the bodies of 19 Central American migrants werefound in Tamaulipas, a neighboring Mexican border state and the site of hundreds of still largely unexplained migrant murders over the past eleven years. November 6, 2013, National Security Archive And they went to the Ranch but did not find anyone, and told us that they had scoured the place but had not found anyone.- Complaint of Elvira Espinoza, November 4, 2011. Allende, Coahuila, municipio donde se perpetr una masacre, en 2011. Among them were the director, Roberto Guadalupe Trevio, shift commander Mara Guadalupe valos, known as La Lupe, and officer Bertha Rosario Tllez Vega, known as La Chayo.. Arts & Culture. Thompson later turned the original report into amulti-episode podcast. Family members lost contact with Rodolfo and his daughter, Liliana Garza de la Torre, on the night of March 18. He did not take my opinion into consideration, and no one else said anything. Most importantly, he told her that many of the Allende massacre victims were first brought to a cemetery in Piedras Negras before being taken later to the Garza ranch. Mauricio, the infant son of Liliana lvarez and Arturo Espinoza, was never seen again. Oneformer member of the Allende policeinterviewed in July 2014 told investigators that from the moment that I joined the ranks of the municipal police I realized that all of the people I mentioned previously, including the mayor, the police director, police commander, and the shift commanders, were linked to the Zetas criminal organization., One of the first witnesses to talk about the police departments links to Los Zetas was anAllende municipal official in charge of road maintenance, who in January 2014 told investigators that everyone knows about [the March 2011 Allende massacre] but is too afraid to say anything.. Gunmen open fire in a roadside eatery, leaving nine customers dead in pools of blood. The human rights exception applies even to records from an ongoing criminal investigation, the kinds of files normally only accessible through high-profile leaks, such as the Panama Papers, or in piecemeal fashion and after lengthy delays through access to information laws. I could see that the owners of the ranch were there, since I could identify [Jos Luis Garza,] Mrs. [Alma Patricia,] their son [Julio Csar Garza, Rodolfo Garza, and] his daughter, whose name was [Nora Liliana Garza de la Torre.] The attack . The Zetas told the other children he was too little and cried too much to leave him there with them, according to Espinoza. Remembering the Allende Massacre. With the passing of the days, the identity of 14 of the victims from Guatemala have been confirmed (the police estimate there are 15, and the rest are possibly Mexicans). So I went to my friends house who lives only two blocks away to tell her this; but in the few minutes I was with my friend, my daughter [called] to tell me that her father was going on a trip [S]o I headed home, and when I was about 50 meters away, a white, double-cab, Tundra pick-up truck arrived, and I see my husband leave the house with his dirty clothes on. And this began to occur more or less in the years 2010 and 2011, which was about when Los Zetas got started in the region.- Declaration of former Allende police official, November 12, 2014, 15:20. What they saw, before fleeing for their lives, was the beginning of the grimly methodical process often used by the Zetas to destroy the bodies of their victimsto eliminate the primary evidence of the crime. email@example.com. THE DOCUMENTS. The targets included the families of Juniors father, Jos Luis Garza y Garza, and his unclesVctor, Rodolfo, and Sergio. She spoke by phone to Fernando Purn, the mayor of Piedras Negras who told her that her son was probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He told her the most likely outcome was that Gerardo would be released because it was a mistake. Speaking again later that night, around 3:30 AM on March 19, she said the mayor told her that it hurt him very much, what we were going through, and he hung up. I stopped working for Los Zetas because they disappeared my father who worked as a security guard at a construction site from where they also kidnapped another worker and a woman who I did not know, but she seemed to be a minor At the time of the disappearance of my father I was still with the municipal police and I asked the commander for help And he told me not to involve myself in these matters and that I should go home and go to sleep.-Declaration of former Allende police transit officer, July 31, 2014. Over three consecutive days in March 2011, a series . After three days of abuse, on the night of March 20, the Zetas took him to the Garza ranch and put him to work managing the incoming truckloads of corpses along with a few living hostages. Leave them. I only saw that they had them bent over with their hands behind their backs, and they put them in the back of the truck. Passing by the Garza property, she noticed a group of workers gathered there, waiting to be paid.  The thinking behind the special exception measure is simple: Human rights crimes affect both the immediate victims and society as a whole, and in such cases there is a society-wide interest in full transparency to ensure that such grave abuses do not reoccur. When we arrived at the ranch, they went inside the houses and I began to hear many shots fired and people shouting, and they began to throw the bodies of dead people in the bed of the truck, and later they tellme Get down here, asshole, and tie up this fucking bitch I tied up a man who seemed to be a worker at the Garza ranch, but I did not know this person. Later on the following Sunday, with all of those people locked up at the ranch, around 8:30 or 9:00 at night, I accompanied Comandante 7 and [Comandante Pala], together with various estacas, among others that I recall were [El Canelo, El Cubano, El Chilero, El Panda, El Ruso, El Flacaman, El Cabe and El Meno,] together with a municipal police patrol [in which were riding police officers Guadalupe valos Orozco, La Lupe, and Jess Alejandro Bernal Guerrero,] to a house on [Cuauhtmoc] Street in the Center of Allende, which is where Vctor Garza lived.