3 of the 12 Tamaulipas police officers arrested in recent massacre received U.S. training

 “MX” for Borderland Beat

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Last week, a Mexican judge found probable cause to link 12 state police agents to massacre in Camargo, Tamaulipas.

Three of the 12 Tamaulipas State Police officers arrested for the massacre of 19 people last month in Camargo received training from the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The program they were part of consisted of “basic skills and/or first line supervisor [human rights] training” between 2016 and 2017, before they joined the Tamaulipas police.

The INL said that the training was compliant with Leahy Law, a U.S. human rights law that prohibits the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.

Investigators say that these 12 police officers assisted the Northeast Cartel (CDN) in the massacre. They arrived at the conclusion that authorities were involved in the massacre after one of the vehicles found in the Tamaulipas crime scene had already been seized on 6 December 2020 at another crime in Nuevo Leon.

During that incident, 66 migrants were rescued by security forces after they were abducted and kept by cartel members in a safe house. The vehicle was seized but it ended up in the cartel’s hands the following month.

The police officers involved “manipulated” the crime scene where the 19 people were killed by cleaning up the bullet shells left behind. When interviewed about what happened, several of them gave conflicting reports, raising questions about their possible involvement. All the officers are were charged with homicide, abuse of authority, abuse of administrative duties, and for providing false information to authorities.

It is not the first time that the Tamaulipas State Police has been involved in a human rights scandal. According to the Human Rights Commission in Tamaulipas (CODHET), the state agency received 91 complaints of arbitrary detention and disappearances in 2019. The figures for 2020 were not released but are expected to be just as high, as reported by Borderland Beat.

As of mid-February, investigators have identified 16 of the 19 victims. 

Sources: La Jornada; Yahoo NewsAnimal Politico