Mexico’s investigative magazine Zeta calls the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, “the capital of extrajudicial executions.” It lists a series of severe recent misuse of force incidents there, most involving the armed forces:
- May 18, 2023: A video shows that, contrary to the Army’s version of events, soldiers shot and killed five men, following a confrontation and pursuit, after they had already been captured and disarmed.
- February 26, 2023: Soldiers, shooting 80 times, killed five men following a pursuit.
- August 31, 2022: Soldiers open fire on a vehicle and kill a four-year-old girl on board. A friend of Heidi Mariana’s mother was taking her to the hospital to treat a stomachache.
- February 7, 2021: Soldiers in an Army truck blocked a private vehicle and opened fire, killing one aboard and wounding two.
- July 3, 2020: Following a shootout, after soldiers overtook their assailants’ vehicles, they fired on the vehicles, killing all aboard—including kidnap victims whom the assailants were transporting.
- March-May 2018: Mexican marines arbitrarily detained and disappeared 27 people in Nuevo Laredo. The bodies of 12 have been found, dumped.
- September 5, 2009: An elite state police unit (Centro de Análisis, Inteligencia y Estudios de Tamaulipas) killed five men and three women. The police allegedly removed the victims from their homes, killed them, and posed the bodies in “northeast cartel” vests around a pickup truck with handmade armor to simulate combat.
Zeta published a table with 16 examples of extrajudicial executions going back to 1995. Seven took place in Nuevo Laredo.
Despite very heavy military involvement in public security, Nuevo Laredo continues to be one of the most dangerous and organized crime-dominated places in Mexico. (See my discussion of what we saw in Nuevo Laredo during a March 2022 WOLA border visit.) Things are so bad that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is not even granting appointments for asylum seekers using the “CBP One” smartphone app across the river in Laredo, Texas.