Ciudad Juárez, right across the border from El Paso, Texas, was perhaps the most dangerous place in the world between 2008 and 2011 as a “cartel turf war” led to more than 10,000 murders.But U.S. and Mexican officials told Stratfor that the surge of killings can be partly attributed to Mexican special forces and hitmen who were acting as U.S. informants.
One email from a Mexican diplomat—identified by Narco News as Fernando de la Mora Salcedo—to Stratfor describes special-operations and intelligence units, embedded within the larger Mexican military force being sent to Ciudad Juárez in 2008 and 2009, that would carry out “surgical strikes” against low-level criminals.
The major groups of killers have left the city, scared shitless, to take refuge elsewhere for an indeterminate amount of time… The military will surgically remove cells that had been previously identified, but for whatever reason were not taken down yet. Periods of adjustment will ensue, but the military will fill any void left in terms of territorial control, ultimately causing the competing [drug trafficking organisations] to wait/give up.
The aim of the special forces, according to the Mexican diplomat, was to “give some breathing room to the [cartel] bosses so that they can issue orders to calm things down” and continue to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the border into the U.S. with less social violence..
Narco News’ Bill Conroy notes, in the definitive piece about the units he calls “death squads,” that the “military cartel” was present in 2008 based on an analysis of murder cases in Ciudad Juárez.
Conroy noticed that “the murders in Juárez are, in almost all cases, not the result of random violence or shootouts between rival drug gangs. In most cases, they are cold-blooded assassinations, often involving coordinated teams of armed, sometimes masked, men who are making use of intelligence, surveillance and paramilitary-like tactics to take out their victims.”
Hitmen from Ciudad Juárez were also given the ability to cross borders and kill due to their relationship with U.S. officials, according an email with the subject “Re: INSIGHT-MEXICO/US-Mishandling of ICE informants-US714.”
The email cites a “U.S. Law enforcement Officer with direct oversight of border investigations” who says that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was “handling big hitmen from Juárez and letting them kill in the U.S.“
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.