Military allegedly murders five young men in Northwestern Mexico

By March 1, 2023

Mexico City, Mexico — Military officials allegedly murdered five young men, and severely injured another  in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, in Mexico’s northwest on Sunday night.

The multiple homicide was denounced by the Human Rights Committee of Nuevo Laredo, which declared that the young men were approached and attacked by members of the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) after leaving a nightclub. 

According to SEDENA officials, the six men were traveling inside an unlicensed pickup truck exceeding the speed limit. The official statement published on February 28 reported that the military officers opened fire at the vehicle after the young men fired at the troops. 

Reportedly, the head of the committee, Raymundo Ramos Vázquez, arrived at the crime scene where relatives and friends of the murdered young men were arguing with military troops.

Confrontation between armed troops and civilians at the scene.

According to Vázquez, at least three military officers fired in the air to repel the grieving relatives and demonstrators. Additionally, the human rights defender said he was assaulted by an officer who damaged his phone while recording the incident. 

At a press conference on March 1, López Obrador backed up the Defense Ministry’s statement. In addition, one of the reporters frequent in López Obrador’s conferences accused Vázquez of being involved with criminal organizations active in the region and trying to tarnish the image of Mexico’s military.

The President secured that an investigation was underway and the military men involved in the killing would be prosecuted if necessary. 

The victims were Gustavo Pérez Beriles, Wilberto Mata Estrada, Jonathan Aguilar Sánchez, Alejandro Trujillo Rocha, and Gustavo Ángel Suárez Castillo, a United States citizen. 

In addition, local media has reported that Luis Gerardo is the young man who survived the attack and is receiving medical attention at a private hospital. 

“As long as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador continues to tolerate these types of massacres and arbitrary deaths like that of Heydi Mariana, the military will continue to act with impunity in our streets, as happened early this morning,” said Vázquez in a statement. 

The case cited by Vázquez is that of five-year-old Heydi Mariana Pérez Rodríguez, who an alleged soldier murdered in late August 2022 in Nuevo Laredo. 

On August 31, the young girl was fatally wounded in a car on her way to a hospital due to a stomach ache. According to the official rendition of the events reported by SEDENA, the vehicle where Heydi was traveling got caught in a crossfire between a criminal group and military officers. 

At a press conference on September 5, López Obrador upheld his military officers’ version and said that an investigation was finalized. 

“It is an unfortunate case, there was a confrontation between members of the army with a gang of criminals, and a girl was killed in the shooting. The investigation was conducted. I believe the result is already available, and those responsible will be punished,” he said. 

However, the mother of the young girl, Cristina Aracely Pérez Rodríguez, reportedly requested a private hearing with López Obrador in early February 2023 since, more than five months after the murder of her daughter, she hasn’t seen evidence of the involvement of military troops in the murder.  

According to Vázquez, who has supported the young victim’s grieving family, there is no evidence to back up the claims reported by SEDENA and upheld by López Obrador.