27 suspected cartel members are freed in Mexico City
n October 22, authorities raided a building in Tepito, one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL

27 suspected cartel members are freed in Mexico City

Mexico City
Anthony Esposito, Noe Torres
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Authorities seized cocaine, marijuana, rocket launchers, and grenades

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Twenty-seven of 31 suspected cartel members arrested in a Mexico City raid last week were freed by a judge, President López Obrador said on Friday; this is his government’s second high-profile failure to keep suspected criminals locked up.

On Tuesday, the suspects were arrested by security forces in the Tepito neighborhood after authorities seized two laboratories used to produce synthetic drugs, 50 kg of chemical precursors, over two tons of marijuana, and over 20 kg of cocaine, as well as MXN $1.5 million in cash, rocket launchers and grenades.

Raiding Tepito, Mexico City's most dangerous neighborhood.

López Obrador said the unexpected release would be investigated but cautioned against a rush to judgment: “Here the important thing is to see what the arguments were to release these people,” said the Mexican President. “Let’s not rush. If someone acted improperly, illegally, if there was corruption, we will condemn it,” he said.

In his comments, López Obrador said police were under-trained and had been ineffective in putting together case files, and gathering all the evidence needed to keep suspected criminals behind bars.

Police officers collude with local cartel in Mexico City.

“The case files are wrongly put together and this lets judges say ‘This is wrong, there isn’t enough evidence, there are contradictions’ and then they go free,” he said.

Nevertheless, López Obrador did not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the release of the suspects believed to belong to the Unión Tepito cartel.

A judicial reform, approved by Congress in 2008 and implemented in 2016 under the Peña Nieto administration, requires authorities to present more evidence to carry out arrests.

The reform sought to modernize the judicial system by ending closed-doors trials and implementing public proceedings where prosecutors and defenders present evidence.

Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum issued a statement in regards to the case.

On Twitter, the Citizen Security Secretariat. led Omar García Harfuch, explained that authorities have carried out the raid after been granting two search warrants but said that authorities will review the case thoroughly.

16 criminal groups are fighting to control Mexico City.


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