Still More Police Beheadings

Three cops and an American resident too. But not much press attention. Why? Maybe because it didn’t happen 6000 miles away in Baghdad, but 25 miles away in Rosarito Beach, Baja California Norte (BCN), Mexico (near Tijuana, and in the same municipality/municipo). The LA Times reports

Mexican authorities discovered the decapitated bodies of three police officers and a fourth man Wednesday near an empty lot in the seaside town of Rosarito Beach, about 15 miles south of the border.

The officers had gone missing Tuesday after responding to a report of a kidnapping. Witnesses said that the officers were intercepted by about 100 heavily armed, masked men dressed as Mexican federal agents, said a spokesman for the Baja California state attorney general’s office.

The men’s bodies showed signs of torture. Their heads were found in Tijuana, several miles away. Authorities said the men were the victims of an organized crime hit, the latest in a string of killings or attempted killings of law enforcement officials in Baja California.

Rosarito Beach, a popular weekend destination for Southern Californians, is also a heavily contested transshipment point for drug traffickers.

A mob of about a hundred did this? Torture too? The San Diego Union has a few more details

According to city officials, the abduction took place as two of the officers were investigating a complaint while accompanied by a police officer on leave and a civilian.
It’s not unusual for Mexican police near the border to be targeted by drug groups or for authorities to run across mutilated bodies.

But the level of violence and the rank of some of the officers killed is raising questions about the motive. The assailants took pains to dump the heads in Tijuana while leaving the torsos in Rosarito Beach. All of the men’s bodies showed signs of having been beaten, according to a news release from the state Attorney General’s Office.

According to Rosarito Beach city officials, the three officers are: Ismael Arellano Torres, 36, who had been on work leave because of an injury; Jesús Hernández Ballesteros, 42, who oversaw the commercial police division, which provides protection for businesses; and Benjamín Fabián Ventura, 35, who was a bodyguard for city Public Security Director Valente Montijo Pompa, whose post is similar to that of police chief.

The fourth man was identified by Rosarito Beach city officials as Fernando Avila, 28, of Phoenix. It wasn’t clear if he was a U.S. citizen. He had apparently been visiting Montijo and one of the other officers killed yesterday, said Felipe Hernández Villela, a spokesman for the Rosarito Beach city government.

State investigators said the officers were seized while investigating a report of an abduction.
Rosarito Beach authorities, however, said the incident began when the men attempted to investigate a report of armed men in a rural section of the city called Huahuatay.
When the call about the armed men came through, the two active-duty officers set off to investigate in their patrol car, and Arellano and Avila tagged along in a separate car, he said. The men were apparently caught by surprise by about 70 people in 40 cars, according to Rosarito Beach city officials.

“They didn’t know there were such a large number of cars involved,” Hernández said. “Lots of times, you get calls of armed people and you go out there and it turns out to be a drug addict acting disorderly.”

According to a news release from the city of Rosarito Beach, members of the armed group initially identified themselves as federal agents who had come from Mexico City to conduct a special operation. Criminals here often identify themselves as police, but the Mexican Federal Attorney General’s office released a statement saying it wasn’t any of its officers.

This wasn’t in Iraq, and was not conducted by Moslems. I’m not going to argue that this (alone) means we need better border security on the Mexican border because all this happened in Mexico. I did a Google News Search (and Technorati too) and came across the articles quoted above, and only a couple of blogs have mentioned it.

What I do wonder about is the lack of coverage and concern over something next door. Perhaps I’m catching this early in the news cycle, but if this happened in Iraq it would be page one. I guess Mexico is a quagmire. Perhaps these “insurgents” are trying to impact the upcoming Mexican elections on July 2, 2006

My subject line above is not misleading, because there was a similar beheading of 2 policemen by thugs (drugs) in Acapulco last month. However, all this is related to drug importation into the USA and shows the failures of the so-called “war on drugs.” This WAR has created gang violence, which is not something new; Prohibition created similar.

Disclaimer: I’ve stayed in the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

Update: More from the LA Times (and Google only shows 21 related articles so far)

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Borders and Immigration, Latin America, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. slickdpdx says:

    I don’t doubt that a blackmarket may increase violence, but you’ll find violence in any “mobbed-up” (not limited to traditional Italian gangs, but including gangs of many nationalities) activity: for instance, trash haulers, longeshoremen, restaurants, car services, small vendors

  2. I blame Scalia.

  3. cryinginthewilderness says:

    How many more Americans have to die before we get out of Mexico???

  4. legion says:

    Hey! Watch that defeatist talk, wilderness!

    We’re fighting the Mexicans in Mexico so we don’t have to fight them he-