According to Mexican officials, a copy of a notorious Mexican criminal gang carried out a brutal attack in Chihuahua state last week, eventually killing two elderly priests and a travel guide who sought refuge in a church. Was killed.
The killings took place in the small desert town of Sirokahoi, about 480 kilometers from the Arizona border. According to Mexican police, the crime was orchestrated by Norrell “El Chico” Portillo, who is said to be the local leader of the Salzar group.
Javier Campos, 79, and Joaquin Mora, 80, apparently died in an attempt to protect local guide Pedro Palma, who was allegedly abducted and beaten by Chioko and his man before he fled to Syrocahoe Church. . Two other Sirokaho residents were also abducted and are missing during the Czechoslovak crime, police said.
Eyewitnesses said the bodies of Campos, Mora and Palma were all removed from the church and loaded into a pickup truck by Czech men. The bodies were found two days later in the desert outside the city.
Pope Francis posted a statement on Twitter about the violence, saying: “I express my pain and sorrow at yesterday’s killing in Mexico, two Jesuits and one civilian. How many murders in Mexico! Violence problems It doesn’t solve it, it only increases unnecessary suffering. ”
Father George Atalano, who worked in the same parish with Campos and Mora, told the Daily Beast that his two fellow pastors had dedicated their lives to helping the Tarahomara natives who lived in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Chihuahua. Lives in
“Sierra is controlled by organized crime,” Atalano said, noting that Campos and Mora had learned to make peace with armed groups.
“They knew how to have coordination presence agreements [with the narcos]. They got respect as pastors, they got respect from everyone. They were appreciated and everyone listened to them. ”
Mexican Bishop Jose Gonzalez – a close personal friend of Pastor Campos and Mora – called the two men “martyrs” in an interview with the Daily Beast.
“[Chueco] Were addicted to high drugs. He’s known for going crazy when he’s on this path.A
“They are holy men … I am sorry we lost our brothers […] But I’m so glad they ended up defending life. Imagine giving your life for another. This is the gospel, right? Thus the Lord tells us that there is no greater friend than one who gives his life for others, ”said Gonzalez, who oversees Davis in the cartel-ridden Mexican state of Guerrero.
In the aftermath of the killings, state attorney Javier Ferrero told reporters that Chico’s chaotic move was caused by damage sustained by a local baseball team. But Father Heroes said the lost game was just part of the story.
“[Chueco] Were addicted to high drugs. He’s known for going crazy when he’s on this path, ”Altino said.“ He’s already been addicted to drugs for two days and was crazy. A house was set on fire [in Cerocahui] as well.”
In response to a question about Pedro Palma’s death, Tillano said, “We don’t know why he attacked the tour guide. We know he had kidnapped a tourist before.”
The latest is a reference to the case of U.S. traveler Patrick Braxton-Andrew, in which Choiko was mistakenly abducted and killed by a DEA agent in 2018.
Following the recent killings in Cerocahui, Mexican authorities have offered a reward of up to 5 million ($ 250,000) for information leading to the capture of Chico Portello. However, the local and international media have already begun to question how Cheuko is still open after being involved in the murder of an American citizen.
“In these isolated areas, drug traffickers operate with complete impunity, and they threaten violence against officials who oppose them,” said Mike Wegel, former head of DEA’s international operations.
“El Cheuko has never been charged with the murder of an American pedestrian because it would be the death penalty for anyone convicted of the crime,” Weigel said. “In many Mexican states, cartels have become the ruling organs of chaotic and violent justice.”
According to Weigel, the Cheuko Salzar group is the Chihuahua-based implementing arm for the world-powerful Sinalova cartel, formerly run by Chapo Guzman, and now controlled by a soft coalition of his family and followers.
“El Salzar operates in the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua,” the DEA watchdog said. They are mainly involved in cannabis and poppy cultivation.
Weigel added that Salar’s group is also accused of being responsible for the killing of several American citizens just a few years ago.
“They feel like they are the owners [of Mexico]And we can’t continue to do that.A
“In 2019, three women and six children belonging to the Mormon castle in Sonora were attacked and brutally killed,” Weigel said. “Although never resolved, it is assumed that Salar’s group was involved in the massacre.”
As a result of the killings and unsolved kidnappings in Cerocahui, a number of prominent Mexican Jesuits complained that the government had given control to cartels in some parts of Mexico.
“When the state has no control over the region and allows private armed groups to control it, we call it a failed state,” said Father Louis Hernandez, dean and professor at the University of Ibero-American in Coalition. Mexico News Daily.
Hernandez added that the drug feels like “they can do whatever they want.” “They feel like they are the owners [of Mexico]And we can’t continue that.
The assassination of the clergy in Cerocahui also raised new questions about the peace, cartel-happiness strategy written by the administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“Mexico’s non-reciprocal policy, known as ‘Abrazos no Balazos’, has resulted in a failed state where criminals openly kill priests, journalists and other innocent people,” Viegel said. Related to this useless strategy. “
The surviving pastor of Cerocahui agreed with Wegel.
“What we’ve seen is that the federal government’s strategy is not to attack cartels,” Father Altiliano said. “And it strengthens the cartels.”