For the second time in two days, Mexicans were treated today to the spectacle of another senior retired army general hauled in for suspected links to drug lords.
A few hours ago, the National Defense Ministry issued a statement saying it had collaborated with prosecutors in sending retired Gen. Ricardo Escorcia Vargas to be questioned over alleged collaboration with organized crime.
Escorcia, a three-star general, went into retirement in 2010.
Proceso Magazine’s website says prosecutors believe Escorcia collaborated with the Beltran Leyva narcotics gang, the same suspicions that hang over the two generals taken into custody Wednesday. They are retired Gen. Tomas Angeles Dauahare, the assistant defense secretary from 2006 to 2008, and Gen. Roberto Dawe Gonzalez.
Escorcia once headed a military base in Cuernavaca, a stronghold of the Beltran Leyva gang.
This is a huge black eye for the Mexican army – and a smaller black eye for President Felipe Calderon. While the allegations have yet to be proven and convictions handed down, these actions suggest drug cartels have penetrated into the inner sanctum of the defense secretariat. Angeles Dauahare was No. 2 in the Defense Ministry and the highest-level officer snared in an organized crime probe while serving Calderon.
Until his arrest a few days ago, Dawe commanded an elite unit assigned to the 20th Military Zone, headquartered in the western state of Colima, a major entry point for imported chemicals used in making methamphetamine.