Saturday, June 15, 2024

Authorities investigate meeting between National Guard, suspected criminals

After photos surfaced on social media of National Guard members sharing a meal with a family of politicians linked to criminal activity in Venustiano Carranza, Puebla, Governor Miguel Barbosa announced he would launch an investigation. 

The governor told a press conference that he will file a complaint with the Ministry of Defense, the head of the National Guard and the Ministry of Public Safety regarding the meeting, which he described as “regrettable.”

The photos show seven uniformed members of the National Guard enjoying a meal in a seafood restaurant with several members of a clan linked to organized crime in the region. Another photo, the governor says, shows National Guard members stationed outside one of the family’s homes.

The family in question, the Valencia Ávila brothers, have taken turns as mayor of the municipality for a total of 12 years, and Vicente Valencia Ávila, the current mayor, is under investigation by the governor’s office. His son, Jonathan, is likely the person who first posted the incriminating photo to social media.

The brothers’ shady past is no secret. In 2018, police raided then-mayor Rafael Valencia Ávila’s home and found 50,000 liters of stolen gasoline, six guns and ammunition. Three people were arrested, including the mayor’s wife.

On April 16 of this year, José Luis Trejo Pérez, head of public safety during the Rafael Valencia administration, was arrested while in possession of a pistol and 43 baggies of cocaine. Trejo has been linked to three murders between 2015 and 2019. 

In October 2019, Governor Barbosa Huerta announced that the state would take over the municipality’s police force due to corruption and criminality.

A statement from the National Guard on the investigation into the incident acknowledges that the family is part of a criminal organization and warns that administrative and or criminal sanctions may be applied to those who appear in the photos.

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

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