Arresting and holding criminal suspects continues to be a challenge for the justice system.
Just days after the wife of a cartel boss in Guanajuato was ordered released on technicalities, a federal judge ruled that the suspected leader of the Unión de Tepito gang be set free due to a lack of evidence to corroborate the legality of his arrest.
Oscar N., also known as “El Lunares,” was arrested along with two others in the municipality of Tolcayuca, Hidalgo, on January 31.
But after a 13-hour hearing Judge Beatriz Moguel Ancheyta said that federal prosecutors were unable to provide sufficient evidence to back up the official version of the capture of the presumed leader of the Mexico City cartel.
She also ordered the release of the two other suspected members of the gang, identified as Eric N. and Hugo Armando N.
Moguel based her ruling on a video taken by a neighbor at the moment of the arrest in Hidalgo. She said it offered sufficient evidence to disprove the version in official police reports.
Those reports said the three individuals were arrested in the act of committing a crime, claiming that they were found to be in possession of drugs and weapons after being stopped for speeding.
The police officers reportedly smelled marijuana when the driver rolled down the window, and one of the men was said to have dropped a 9mm pistol upon getting out of the vehicle.
El Lunares and the third man were reportedly in the vehicle, as well as drugs and military-grade weapons and ammunition.
The report said that the men were arrested at 6:27am and were being transported to the airport to be taken to Mexico City by 9:00am.
However, the neighbor’s video submitted by the defense showed that there was an arrest at the house at 9:19am. Military officers are seen escorting a person with Hugo Armando N.’s complexion, but his face covered, into their vehicle.
Judge Moguel said that although there was no evidence to prove that the man being detained in the video was Hugo Armando N., the recording opened up the possibility of a fourth arrest not mentioned in the official reports.
She added that the prosecution’s version of events would fall to pieces in the case that the man in the video was Hugo Armando N.
The release was the latest stroke of luck in a series of fortunate events for El Lunares. He is believed to have avoided capture during a raid on the gang’s Mexico City bunker in October by using a secret tunnel to escape.
That operation found evidence that El Lunares had paid for parties for Mexico City police officers, leading to the investigation of 120 officers for collusion with the cartel.
On Thursday, a judge ordered the release of Karina Mora, wife of Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel chief José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz, because police had not obtained a search warrant to enter the house in which we was arrested.
Source: Milenio (sp)