Mexican Police Chief Quits Amidst Growing Cartel Threats

Posted Feb 21, 2009 by Roger Corral
As violence continues to grow in Juarez's drug cartel war, government officials struggle to maintain peace in the region and in it's borders.
Juárez police chief Roberto Orduña Cruz resigned Friday after the drug cartel killed six city police officers this week and threatened to kill more unless he left the force.
"I cannot place my sense of duty above the lives of my officers," said Orduña in a press conference.
Orduña, a former army major, was hired last May to oversee the department of 1,600 officers.
More than 300 homicides have been recorded for this year in Juárez alone, most related to the cartel drug war.
Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz has warned residents that organized drug cartels intend to control the city's police force as they battle a deadly ground war against other gang rivals in control of territory.
Earlier Friday, two police officers, César Ivan Portillo and Juan Pablo Ruiz, were fatally gunned down.
On Tuesday, an armed commando killed Sacramento Perez Serrano, the police operations director recruited by Orduña to help fight police officers who are suspected of working for the cartel, and three other officers who were with him at the time.
After the attacks, cartel operatives left signs threatening to kill a police officer every 48 hours unless Orduña quit the force.
Tuesday was also a pivotal day in the rising turmoil between the government and the cartel as protesters, allegedly paid by the cartel, blocked three of the international bridges in Juárez that lead in to El Paso, Texas.
Loaded buses delivered protesters to demonstrate against the Mexican army along its borders, a scary new tactic to discredit the Mexican government.
The protest came as a surprise attack by the cartel, as recent opinion polls show support for government army officials to be located in drug cartel hot spots.
"It's a very dangerous time in Juárez, especially for somebody in law enforcement," said El Paso Mayor John Cook. "It means we have to be prepared and have a plan, and I think you will see (a plan) next week from the (Texas) governor's office."
Texas officials are said to be working on a plan to respond to a potential collapse of the Mexican government, with the possibility that the country's borders may soon be inundated with fleeing victims.
A new bill, called the Merida Initiative, will provide $1.4 billion to Mexico and other Central America countries over the following three years to help fight the spreading violence that seems to be taking over. The money will be used on such things as computer equipment, scanners and helicopters.
El Paso, Texas, one of the safest cities in the country, may soon face some new problems if the drug trafficking into the country grows into large scale proportions.
" First we had the poor women who we're brutally murdered day after day in Mexico for the last few years and now this," says former Juarez native Jaime Nunez, a U.S. citizen now. "If the government doesn't do something drastic, we may see the cartel eventually take over power and that's not good for anybody."