Mexico orders 30 marines to stand trial in disappearances

Border Crime

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Prosecutors in Mexico said Thursday a court has ordered 30 marines to stand trial in the cases of people who disappeared during anti-crime operations in the northern border city of Nuevo Laredo in 2018.

The Navy had said previously there were warrants for the 30, charging them with “acting in violation of their duty.” The Navy turned them over to the federal Attorney General’s Office last week.

Under Mexican law, military tribunals can hear only cases that involve violations of military code. Offenses against civilians must be tried in civilian courts.

The city across from Laredo, Texas, has long been dominated by the Northeast cartel, an offshoot of the old Zetas gang.

For much of the 2000s, the fight against the cartel was largely entrusted to Mexico’s marines, who frequently came under fire from heavily armed cartel gunmen. Marines were also accused of rounding up supposed suspects, some of whom were not heard from again. Through 2018, dozens of people disappeared in Nuevo Laredo.

The marines have largely been removed from land anti-cartel operations, and the army and the newly created National Guard has taken over some of the those duties.

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