The case of Verónica Mireya Moreno Carreón helps explain why citizen confidence in the police in the north of Mexico is practically zero.
Moreno was a decorated cop. She worked in San Nicolas de los Garza, one of the districts of greater Monterrey, where on April 22, 2009, she and a partner confronted kidnappers trying to snatch a car salesman from a lot.
She was wounded in a shootout, and after recovering was given an award for her service to the community. But some time later, she failed tests to determine that she remained on the straight and narrow, according to press reports, presumably a lie detector.
Over the weekend, marines captured her driving around in a stolen Jetta, packing a .38 special, 100 packets of cocaine and 50 packets of crack, according to a press statement. In a perp walk, Moreno was presented to the press as a district chief of Los Zetas where she’d once worked as a cop. El Universal says this morning that of the 600 cops in San Nicolas, 273 have been sacked in the past year and a half.
While Moreno was a cop in San Nicolas, the mayor was Zeferino Salgado, who has seen his own reputation tainted by charges that a powerful casino owner linked to organized crime once gave him a helicopter.
Salgado’s name also comes up in a 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, which says he received $2.5 million in an illegal campaign donation from two brothers, both casino operators, linked to the Beltran Leyva crime syndicate.
The cable, click here to read in its entirety, concludes: “The traffickers, the casino operators, and corrupt politicians form a self-protective triangle, which makes it difficult for honest law enforcement officers to get at organized crime.”
So if Monterrey residents have trouble trusting the cops, maybe it’s because their politician bosses don’t merit trust. Salgado, by the way, now has an even better job. He’s the top official of the federal Communications and Transport Secretariat in the surrounding state of Nuevo Leon.