Mexico authorities arrest 30 marines for suspected disappearances News
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Mexico authorities arrest 30 marines for suspected disappearances

Mexican authorities on Monday arrested 30 marines suspected of forcibly disappearing people along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014. While the exact number of missing persons is unclear, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, has one of the highest missing persons rates in the country with an estimated 80,517 people having gone missing between 2006 and December 2020. During that same period, 300,000 people were allegedly murdered by drug cartels.

The Naval Secretariat said in a press release, “Thirty naval service members were made available to the Attorney General’s Office on April 9 in compliance with arrest warrants … for the alleged crime of forced disappearance of persons.” The Secretariat explained that it opted to turn over the soldiers to help the Attorney General “carry out the pertinent investigations” and to remain in “strict adherence with protocol.”

Former president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador deployed the National Guard in 2014 as part of a mass crackdown on Mexico’s violent drug cartels. During that time, security forces were accused or convicted of homicides and enforced disappearances.

Enforced disappearances in Mexico are on the rise with an estimated 71,678 reported missing since 2006. Many disappearances have involved security forces and government officials who have remained complicit in these crimes, or have directly participated in the torture and killing of people in cooperation with cartels. While the government has often blamed cartels for perpetuating the disappearances, authorities often fail to investigate these crimes or actively work to conceal them.