Authorities: Juárez killing not tied to rogue cops
by Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera \ El Paso Times
Posted: 04/18/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
Last week's slaying in Juárez of a man who accused 10 federal police officers of kidnapping and extortion did not have anything to do with his complaint, Chihuahua state authorities said on Tuesday.
According to a news release from the state's prosecutor's office, state and federal authorities think that a single person attacked and killed Eligio Ibarra Amador, 62, and that the possible motive was robbery, based on evidence collected at the crime scene.
The news release said his home in the Margaritas neighborhood, in downtown Juárez, was in disarray and a compact vehicle that neighbors reported Ibarra often drove was missing.
A Jeep Grand Cherokee in Ibarra's garage was loaded with electronic devices and other valuable items, and the lock to the garage showed signs that someone had tried to force it open.
Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said that Ibarra's attacker was apparently unable to open the garage door and take the Jeep, and settled for escaping with the compact vehicle.
Authorities also think that Ibarra knew his attacker and that he was having dinner with him before the crime. Two served dishes and pans of food heating on the stove were found at the scene, the release said.
Authorities think that the attacker is between 30 and 40 years old and that he killed Ibarra
in the dining room with a kitchen knife.
Sandoval said that they are still reconstructing the events and that "there are hypotheses that still need defining."
However, he said investigators have virtually discarded the possibility that Ibarra's slaying was related to his report against the federal police officers.
"The fact that he was a victim of extortion and kidnapping has nothing to do with him being a victim of homicide," he said.
Ibarra was killed Thursday evening in his house. About 70 percent of his body had been burned. Sandoval said that his body apparently had been burned to simulate an execution-style killing.
The crime took place after Ibarra, the owner of an auto-parts business, filed a complaint in September last year against 10 federal police officers, alleging that they kidnapped and tortured him for not paying a "quota," or bribe.
José Angel Torres Valadez, spokesman in the northern region for the Mexican Attorney Attorney's Office, said that the day after the complaint, the that office and the Federal Police's internal affairs department launched an operation in which Ibarra met with the police officers extorting him to detain them.
After their arrest, authorities found marijuana, heroin, rifles, guns, hundreds of cartridges and several stolen objects in the officers' patrol cars and hotel rooms.
The federal agents involved were Cmdr. Reyes Flores Santiago and officers Marcelo Xolo Ramírez, Olegario Hernández Ramos, Agustín Tapia Celis, Nicasio Alvarado García, Alejandro Morales López, José Juan Fuentes Rodríguez, Angel Miguel Cruz, Raúl Carrillo Pérez and Isaac Moreno Hernández.
All are now in a federal prison.
Torres said the Mexican Attorney General's Office is conducting its own investigation into Ibarra's killing.
"This is to see if (the slaying) was related to his complaint," he said. "This was a person that had come to us and the crime took place within the frame of a federal court process."
Torres said the crime will not affect the judicial process against them because a federal judge has already found them guilty. Evidence to determine their prison sentence is now being shown in court, and federal prosecutors have the testimony of other witnesses to present against them, he said.
"Don Eligio's complaint is one among many that were presented against them. Once they were identified, other people came to file complaints regarding other incidents," Torres said.
Sandoval added that in previous hearings, Ibarra had identified the federal police officers and that his testimony would help determine their sentences.
According to the state's prosecutor's office, Ibarra was from Xicotepec de Juárez and was single. Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, ombudsman for Chihuahua State's Human Rights Commission, said Ibarra's family went to Juárez on Friday to identify and reclaim his body.
De la Rosa said that regardless of the causes behind his death, the state had failed to protect Ibarra.
After Ibarra made his report and appeared before court, De la Rosa said, "authorities apparently lost track of him, like he had reported the theft of a tiny medallion."
"The point of discussion is not who killed him or why they killed him. The point is that a person who reported a band of extorters in uniforms was completely left on his own by the authorities," he said. "Whether it was a friend, a thief or a hit man, the truth is that when they killed him, he was absolutely alone."
His death dealt a serious blow to citizens' trust in the justice system, De la Rosa said.
"Imagine the harm not having protected him has done to the justice system. Authorities complain we don't report crime and blame us for the delinquency in the city, but the day someone files a complaint they abandon him and he gets killed."
Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6129; on Twitter at @Alejandro EPT.
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