By MARK LORENZANA
Acts of extortion, robbery, abuse of authority and even links to organized crime have allegedly been identified within the ranks of the Mexican National Guard (GN).
According to a report from the Internal Affairs Unit (UAI) of the GN, which was obtained by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, from the beginning of 2019 until April 2022, 8,656 anonymous complaints were lodged against the GN by affected citizens. Of that total, only 1,135 complaints were investigated, and only 7.7 percent of the total population of the GN had been sanctioned.
Of the complaints investigated, 787 were linked to corruption and extortion of agents, 137 to abuse of authority, 92 to theft of institutional property, 72 to unspecified theft, 58 to slander and defamation, 53 to misbehavior and ill conduct, 48 to both active and passive bribery and 15 to improper use of resources and breach of trust.
In the most serious cases, the UAI detected 18 GN members with links to organized crime, 10 flagged for illicit enrichment, five for human rights violations, three for the use of lethal force, three for petroleum theft, two for crimes against health, one for kidnapping, one for smuggling and one more for rape.
Several GN elements were likewise singled out for physical or verbal aggression, theft of institution assets, institutional debt, failure to comply with orders, breaking and entering, improper use of assets, damage to other people’s property, failure to perform functions impartially, information leakage, allowing outsiders to use GN property, usurpation of functions, influence peddling, concealment and even intoxication.
On Sept. 14 of this year, a GN member was accused of stealing $1,800 dollars from a car dealer, which sparked a brawl on the Matamoros-San Fernando highway in the northeast Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
In that incident, a group of about 40 vehicle dealers arrived at a military checkpoint to demand the return of the money, punishment for the agent and the withdrawal the GN from the area. After several minutes, GN commanders arrived at the scene and returned the money in Mexican pesos (equivalent to about 36,000 pesos) to the victim, who said he had been attacked by the agent who robbed him.
A video clip of the incident, which was broadcast on social media platforms, shows a GN official returning the money, after which an argument breaks out when the car dealers demand the arrest of the agent who allegedly took the money. A brawl then ensues, wherein the vehicle dealers and members of the GN exchange blows.
The GN spokesperson in Tamaulipas did not issue an official statement on the case, while the Mexican Army distanced itself from the incident.