Monday, June 17, 2024

20 arrest warrants expected after Facebook video identifies lynch mob

A Facebook Live video of the lynching of two men in Puebla last week has enabled authorities to identify many of the instigators and perpetrators of the crime, for whom as many as 20 arrest warrants are expected to be issued this week.

Angry citizens of San Vicente Boquerón, a town in the municipality of Acatlán de Osorio, beat and burned alive 43-year-old Alberto Flores Morales and his 21-year-old nephew Ricardo Flores Rodríguez on August 29 because they suspected the two men of being child snatchers, although authorities subsequently determined they were innocent.

Francisco Martínez, a man also known as “El Tecuanito,” started streaming to Facebook before the lynching occurred to urge more people to participate in the vigilante “justice.”

“People of Acatlán, come together, because things are getting delicate . . . The more people we are, the more justice we can serve,” he said in the live transmission.

The video and other evidence allowed authorities to identify taco vendor César Juárez and Enrique Guzmán Sánchez as the main instigators of the mob violence, and to determine that Nicodemo Aguilar was responsible for dousing the two victims with gasoline before they were set on fire.

In the video, Martínez also incites residents to go to the municipal police station, where an angry mob succeeded in taking the uncle and nephew from police by force.

The two victims, who had been drinking beer in public next to a local primary school, were taken into custody after they were accosted by residents who accused them of kidnapping three children.

Authorities believe that a total of 150 people participated in one way or another in the lynching of Alberto and Ricardo Flores. The newspaper Milenio reported today that it is probable that many of those involved are merchants in the local market.

To date, 29 suspects have been identified and two men have been arrested, one of whom died shortly after of cirrhosis.

But authorities are confident more suspects will soon be detained.

“There will be more arrests. In recent days, we searched nine addresses and this week more arrest warrants will be issued,” they said. “This week we expect to obtain 15 to 20 arrest warrants, although many [of the suspects] have already fled.”

State and ministerial police have been deployed to San Vicente Boquerón to bolster security and assist in investigations and arrests.

The murder of the two men was one of two lynchings of suspected child snatchers last week.

A man and a woman met the same nasty end in a town in Hidalgo the day after the Puebla men were killed.

Behind both lynchings was hysteria whipped up by fake messages circulating on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and the messaging service WhatsApp, which supposedly served to alert citizens in several states that a wave of kidnappings was taking place.

News website López-Dóriga today published one of the fraudulent messages, written by Francisco Martínez, the same man who streamed the lynching on Facebook Live.

“Important statement: If you have kids in the school . . . go and get them . . . [There are] robberies and kidnappings [taking place] even to commercialize their organs . . . Let’s look after our children and the society where we live. Thank you, your friend, Tecuanito . . .”

Source: Milenio (sp), López -Dóriga (sp)

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