Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Residents terrorized in home invasions by attackers in police uniforms

State police officers and members of the National Guard — or criminals impersonating members of those security forces — broke into a gated residential estate in Veracruz city early Saturday and burglarized at least three homes, according to residents.

The perpetrators — referred to by residents as the uniformados — allegedly attacked private security guards before entering the Laguna Real residential estate, located near the Veracruz International Airport, in the early hours of Saturday morning. They arrived in six apparently official state police and National Guard vehicles, according to residents, whose accounts were reported by the newspaper Diario de Xalapa.

Residents said the uniformados claimed to have a search warrant, but according to the digital newspaper Al Calor Political, never showed it to anyone. The attackers stole jewelry and two vehicles and caused damage to homes they entered.

Photos posted to the Todos Somos Laguna Real (We Are All Laguna Real) Facebook page showed images of damage to one home and personal items strewn on the floor.

Residents also said that the uniformed men attacked occupants of the homes they burglarized despite the presence of women and children. One victim was hit in the head and stomach on repeated occasions, suffering injuries that required treatment in hospital.

Although residents said they called 911 to report the incident, no other security force members arrived at the gated community, which Diario de Xalapa described as a middle-to-upper-class residential estate.

Residents reported having trouble sleeping after the incident, explaining that they didn’t know whether the perpetrators would return to cause more trouble. They said they filed a complaint with authorities and want the terrifying events to be investigated.

“We don’t want any more peace task forces that the state government and [Governor] Cuitláhuac García Jiménez create,” a post on the Todos Somos Laguna Real Facebook page said on Saturday. “We want action and security for our families.”

A residents’ group specifically called on Governor Cuitláhuac García and the state security minister to intervene to ensure that a thorough investigation takes place. Laguna Real homeowners complained that authorities have so far been silent on the crimes that took place in their residential estate.

“The authorities are mute,” residents said, according to a report by news website Al Calor Político. “Nobody has called us or come to speak with us. … Of course we’re afraid; they practically changed our lives in a few minutes.”

With reports from Diario de Xalapa and Al Calor Político

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