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06/26/2012

Holes in the airport shooting story

Security officials are sticking to their story about how three federal police officers ended up slain at Mexico City airport’s Terminal Two yesterday.

Yet the story doesn’t add up.

A statement by the Public Security Secretariat issued late last night says the federal police have had their eye on cocaine trafficking through the airport for 18 months.

As a result, it said, “an investigations unit of the federal police launched an operation Monday morning, June 25th, to capture red handed two federal police officers posted at AICM (the international airport of Mexico City) and linked to activities of a drug trafficking network.”

“Upon seeing themselves discovered by the federal police investigations unit, the two men opened fire to avoid capture, killing three federal police,” it said.

Okay, so you got crooked cops at the airport. They have side arms. Do you send just three investigating officers to arrest them? Never. You overwhelm them. Why is there no mention of other officers? If there were backup officers, at least one of them would have gotten off a few shots and wounded one of the crooked cops. But it didn’t happen. The crooked cops got away, certainly aided by confederates at the airport.

One astute reader sent me similar observations:

“I just thought I'd point out that this shooting doesn't look like narcos dressed as police. It looks like two groups of police fighting over the drug routes through the airport.

“If the police were going to do an arrest, would they have three approach two others, in the food court area, and confront them? This is not how professional police work, especially at the federal level, is done.”

More worrisome, in my view, is the cold-blooded nature of the killing. Either the crooked cops were tipped off, and fully prepared to kill the approaching cops, or the investigations team did not come to make arrests but to negotiate a cut. And it seems clear that these were not cops offering simple protection to traffickers. They are part of the drug gang themselves. You probably don’t open fire on fellow cops to let a few kilos of coke through. You open fire because you have been ushering hundreds of kilos through.

The four airlines using Terminal Two are Aeromexico, Delta, Taca and Lan. Taca and Lan fly south to Panama and South America, respectively. Cocaine doesn’t generally head in that direction. That means cocaine stashed aboard planes is moving on Aeromexico or Delta northward. Delta should be worried.

Lest you think these are cynical ramblings, some Mexican commentators think even worse.

Horacio Zaldivar, writing in Vanguardia this morning, said there’s no way professional cops would make this kind of arrest in an airport food court “before hundreds of citizens (who could be) ‘collateral damage.’”

“The incident was certainly a vendetta between those involved in the mega cocaine trafficking business …” Zaldivar writes.

If a thorough house cleaning of all security personnel does not occur at Terminal Two, it means that someone in power wants the smuggling to go on uninterrupted.

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Serenity Escapes

well said, you are right, you are not being cynical...also, be careful, Tim, there are super creeps everywhere...those in power cling foolishly to their domain

Shane

I think the Police should act like this. Amazing Stuff.

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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