A fourth person has been arrested in connection with last November’s massacre of a Mormon family — and the culprit is none other than a Mexican police director. The man, named Fidel Alejandro Villegas, previously held the position of police chief of the municipality of Janos, per Newsweek.
Though no details were given about Villegas’ specific involvement with the killings, it was reported that he had ties to the La Linea drug cartel and had helped facilitate their crimes. Janos Mayor Sebastián Efraín Pineda confirmed the arrest of Villegas, stating that Villegas was taken to Mexico City after his detention.
“It took us by surprise,” he admitted.
As was previously covered by The Inquisitr, on November 4, six children and three women were shot dead due to cartel violence, specifically the La Linea cartel, in the region. The nine were all members of a Mormon fundamentalist group and had been driving on a remote highway when they were stopped, taken out of their vehicle, and shot at point blank range.
The massacre immediately caused outrage, and President Trump even offered to send American troops to the neighboring nation to fight against the cartels. The killing was believed to be a gang attack gone wrong.
Though Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declined troop involvement, he did invite the Federal Bureau of Investigations to assist in the case after receiving pressure from the Trump administration.
Two other men, brothers Hector Mario and Luis Manuel Hernandez, were also arrested earlier in December in connection with the Mormon massacre. The brothers continue to profess their innocence, and local protests erupted after the news broke of their arrests. Protestors maintain that the two have been scapegoated by the Mexican government and did not have anything to do with the violence.
Though Pineda claimed to be surprised by the arrest, police corruption is far from rare in Mexico. The problem is particularly rife in more dangerous states in the country — like Chihuahua, which not only borders much of Texas but also is where Janos is located. Just last August, an entire police department in the northern town of Madera was arrested due to its corruption, per Insight Crime.
In Chihuahua, it has been estimated that as many as 133 per 1,000 police officers participate in criminal activity, and an average of 1,688 corruption cases were reported for every 1,000 active-duty police officers in Mexico in 2017.
The ties between the police and criminal activity can be blamed in part on the low salaries and almost non-existent government support given to law enforcement in the country.