Sunday, December 3, 2023

Veracruz attorney general says charges a smokescreen

Veracruz Attorney General Jorge Winckler deflected accusations of negligence by the state government, asserting they were actually a smokescreen for a scandal over the purchase of expensive police patrol cars.

“[The accusation] is crazy, it makes no sense. The state Attorney General’s Office’s actions have been completely transparent.”

Veracruz Interior Secretary Eric Cisneros Burgos and Public Security chief Hugo Gutiérrez Maldonado charged that the attorney general neglected to enter or hid more than 150 arrest warrants from the criminal justice system over the course of two years, among which were several high-impact cases.

Cisneros Burgos speculated that Winckler’s negligence could be a sign of complicity with criminal organizations. He said all arrest warrants must be uploaded to the system within 24 hours to coordinate effective cooperation between federal, state and local police.

Responding to the charges, the attorney general said his office has always strictly upheld the law and that all arrest warrants under his supervision have been shared with a larger committee made up of several state government agencies.

“In the first five months of this administration with only 600 agents we have apprehended more than 1,000 suspected criminals, many of them considered highly dangerous. Meanwhile, at the state secretariat of public security with 5,000 police officers they have apprehended fewer than us.”

Winckler claimed that the charges leveled against him are in fact a distraction from the state’s purchase of 160 patrol cars at above-market prices.

Governor Cuitláhuac García bought the 160 vehicles without going to tender for 208 million pesos (US $10.8 million), paying about 1.3 million pesos (US $67,500) for each of the 2019 Ford F-150 4x4s.

A Veracruz senator said the Sinaloa municipality of Ahome had recently purchased an equivalent vehicle — although it was the 2019 model year — for slightly more than half what Veracruz paid.

The latter has defended the purchase by pointing out the vehicles came fully equipped for police use.

Source: Milenio (sp), Reforma (sp), El Universal (sp)

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