JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Nine Chihuahua state police officers were arrested Wednesday night on charges of theft, abuse of authority and excessive use of force, the state attorney general’s office said Thursday. Arrest warrants are pending against another two officers for the same offenses.
A Juarez newspaper, however, said the officers are being investigated for the murder of the man whose house they allegedly robbed in January.
The officers were identified only by first name and initials. They are: Francisco Javier H.L., Jose Luis C.O., Jose S.L., Jose Antonio R.G., Julian Antonio G.A., Manuel G.C., Ricardo G.C., Cristobal Isaac A.V. and Luis Alfredo A.C.
The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said the state police officers on Jan. 30 abducted a 16-year-old boy, beat him and forced him to guide them to a home in a West Juarez neighborhood near the mountains.
Once there, the officers allegedly broke into the house and took a safe, jewelry, money, cellphones, clothes, several bottles of liquor and various documents including vehicle titles, according to the AG’s office.
The officers allegedly took a vehicle from the home and arrested the minor on drug charges.
That’s where the official account ends. But El Diario reports that the state officers in March allegedly retaliated against the homeowner because he filed a theft complaint against them. The man identified only as Jose Angel M.M. said the agents took more than $20,000 from his home in January.
El Diario reports that the complainant was found dead on March 22 inside an abandoned car on Camino Real, a highway on the way to the Santa Teresa (N.M.) Port of Entry.
Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral and Attorney General Augusto Peniche held a Facebook Live press conference on Thursday afternoon but did not take questions from reporters.
Corral said he has increased the pay, training, equipment and benefits for state police officers. He said the arrests show that corruption won’t be tolerated and that public servants who break the law will be prosecuted even if their arrest brings “shame” to their peers or the government.
“These two things go hand in hand: we will recognize the good officers who put their lives at risk and we will punish those who stray from their duties. […] We will rid ourselves of the bad elements in our (public safety) agencies,” the governor said.