Mexico indicts generals for drug links

Allegations point to links with the Beltrán Leyva drug cartel

General Ángeles Dauahare
General Ángeles DauahareREUTERS

A federal judge in Mexico has charged five top military officers, including four generals, after receiving evidence that allegedly ties them to powerful criminal organizations.

Indictments were handed down on Tuesday against Generals Tomás Ángeles Dauahare, Roberto Dawe González, Ricardo Escorcia Vargas and Rubén Pérez Ramírez, and Lieutenant Colonel Isidro de Jesús Hernández.

Ángeles Dauahare, Dawe González and Escorcia Vargas had been arrested more than two months ago on charges that they were part of the Beltrán Leyva drug cartel, and were providing protection to traffickers. They remain in custody.

The Mexican press has reported on a host of theories as to why the arrests were made less than six months before President Felipe Calderón completes his term. Among the versions is speculation that the generals were the victims of a power struggle within the armed forces, including one report that stated General Ángeles Dauahare was removed from the hierarchy to prevent him from taking a post in the incoming government of Enrique Peña Nieto.

Ángeles Dauahare, the grandson of a Mexican Revolutionary hero and former deputy secretary of defense, participated on May 9 at a forum sponsored by the Colosio Foundation in San Luis Potosí, where Peña Nieto, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, spoke. Peña Nieto won the elections on July 1.

Panned drug strategy

During that forum, Ángeles Dauahare publicly criticized Calderón’s anti-drug strategy. “I dare to say that we don’t have a national security strategy,” he said, adding that he was in favor of developing a specific plan instead, “dealing punches when different circumstances arise through lines of action that don’t lead us anywhere.”

On Wednesday morning, the four generals were taken to a high security prison in Toluca, Mexico state, according to the capital daily El Universal.

Mexican law allows for preventive detention in some cases to stop suspects from fleeing, to guarantee they will attend a trial, and to protect victims and witnesses.

Dawe was in charge of a division in Colima, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, which is on a main drug route. The indictments were handed down by a judge in Mexico state.

The case has been a major scandal for Mexico’s armed forces, which have carried the brunt of President Calderón’s war on the drug cartels. He called on the army to help battle traffickers as soon as he came to office in 2006 — a move that has been criticized by his many human rights groups, who charge that the military has committed many abuses in trying to provide security.

As many 55,000 people have died from drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006.

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