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Mexico Federal Police accused of coverup after killing 22 suspected cartel operatives

August 20, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mexico Federal Police accused of coverup  after killing 22 suspected cartel operatives

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Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission said Thursday that Mexican Federal police executed at least 22 purported members of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel on a ranch last year, then staged the scene to corroborate the official account that the deaths had occurred during a gunbattle.

Only one police officer died during the confrontation that took place on May 22nd, 2015  on a ranch in Tanhuato, in the strife-ridden state of Michoacan, near the border of Jalisco.

Authorities at the time said those killed in the shootout were suspected drug cartel members who were hiding out at the ranch.

However, the lopsided death toll prompted detractors to raise suspicions that police officers may have systematically killed people during the operation.

According to the Associated Press, the commission also questioned the government’s version of what led to the confrontation in the first place.

The probe also uncovered the use of excessive force on four of the dead victims and revealed that two cases showed clear signs of torture.

Officials could not establish circumstances surrounding the deaths of fifteen other suspects who were killed by gunfire.

“The investigation confirmed facts that show grave human rights violations attributable to public servants of the federal police,” Commission President Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez said during a Thursday press conference.

National Security Commissioner, Renato Sales, who heads the Mexican federal police, disputed the Commission’s findings, during a news conference.

According to Sales, the armed men fired on the federal police officers after they ordered the suspects drop their weapons and surrender.

“The use of weapons was necessary and proportional against the real imminent, and unlawful aggression of the suspects. In our minds, they acted in legitimate self-defense,” Sales said.

Federal police officials had said officers encountered a truck and took fire from its passengers before being led to the ranch.

The report also detailed how government officials failed to produce evidence supporting their account of events and said eyewitness testimony suggested 41 federal police officers covertly entered the ranch and began their assault as early as 6 a.m., one hour earlier that the official stated.

An additional fifty-four police officers were called along with a helicopter after a federal police officer was shot, according to the Agency’s report.

Officials said the helicopter fired over 4,000 rounds at the ranch and a nearby warehouse, igniting a fire, according to Reuters News Agency.

The report said gunfire also hit the chopper during the clash. One victim died of burns, which investigators believe occurred after he was shot but still alive.

The commission found thirteen of the 22 people killed at the ranch were fatally shot in the back; another five people died from the helicopter gunfire. Another victim sustained a fatal gunshot wound that entered around his left pectoral muscle and exited his groin.

However, officials said there were no bloodstains on the victim’s jeans

The Commission interviewed two eyewitnesses who said federal police officers told one heavily tattooed man to run outside the ranch house before they heard the sound of gunfire.

“The Federal Police had approximately four hours to manipulate the scene, by the time investigators from the state attorney general’s office arrived,” said the report.

The report accuses federal police officials with planting weapons and moving bodies to collaborate the government’s official account.

The commission to conclude that 18 of the victims, who had been discovered barefoot with no pants were asleep at the ranch when police arrived.

In total, the commission’s investigation said 40 civilians were killed bullets; one died in the blaze while another one was run over by a vehicle

Additionally, the report described the autopsy results conducted by the by the Michoacan Attorney General’s Office as sloppy and incomplete, in one case, the morgue returned the wrong body to a family.

Investigators also discovered evidence on a wall inside of the warehouse suggesting police had lined up suspects and executed them.

Two people who survived the bloodshed in Tanhuato told the Commission police tortured them, then were forced to watch three people get executed, and had their lives threatened by officials.

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