Code Name Jaguar: How a Top Police Official Carried Out a Reign of Terror in Mexico

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Photo: Felix Marquez/AP

Hugo Murrieta could draw anything. As their birthdays approached, children from the Mexican town of Coatepec would come knocking on the door of the small house he shared with his mother in the violence-riddled Gulf Coast state of Veracruz. They’d tell Murrieta their favorite cartoon characters, mostly from Disney movies, and he’d recreate them with celebratory messages to be hung at their birthday parties.

“He never charged them, just that they’d bring him the materials,” said his mother, María del Carmen. “He did it because he liked to draw.”

Murrieta’s mother was well-known in Coatepec for the delicious chiles she handmade and sold daily for decades. Each day, Murrieta, 22 years old, would help his mother by delivering them around Coatepec and nearby Xalapa, the state capital, in the taxi he occasionally drove.

Unfortunately for Murrieta, that taxi was on a police hit list, marking it for targeting by the Fuerza de Reacción, or “Reaction Force,” instated by former Veracruz Secretary of Public Security Arturo Bermúdez, an official who gave himself the code name Jaguar. On the afternoon of April 16, 2013, Murrieta was seized, beaten, and never seen again.

The post Code Name Jaguar: How a Top Police Official Carried Out a Reign of Terror in Mexico appeared first on The Intercept.

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