JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Juarez police are investigating if bodies found near railroad tracks early Tuesday are those of four missing used car lot employees.
Armed gunmen arrived in three vehicles on Monday and abducted the workers from a business in a working-class commercial area known as “La Curva,” or The Curve. Police located one body in the nearby Constitution neighborhood late Monday and the other three the following morning. The four bodies showed signs of violence and had their hands tied behind their backs with electrical wire, police said.
Municipal police officials who were first at the crime scene told Mexican media the victims are “likely” the missing car lots employees. No suspects are in custody and police have not disclosed a motive.
Several Juarez junkyards, auto parts stores and mechanical shops have been the targets of armed attacks and arson in the past few months. Police have not established a motive but don’t rule out extortion attempts.
First 80 ‘crooked’ cars get license plates
The state of Chihuahua has began issuing temporary license plates to foreign vehicles imported unlawfully to Mexico under an amnesty program approved late last year by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The first 80 such cars and trucks – commonly referred to here as “crooked” or “chocolate” cars – got paper license plates with holographic safety features in Juarez this week, said Rogelio Loya, state tax collector in Juarez.
State authorities expect to legalize around 200 “crooked” cars per day starting next week. The cost of the process is between $95 and $125, depending on the make and model of the vehicle, Loya said. Going through the formal import process would normally cost Mexicans several times those amounts, but these are vehicles that have been roaming the streets of Juarez for several years now.
“We want to encourage people to register their cars taking advantage of the presidential decree,” Loya said.
State authorities are pushing the legalization to know who the real owner of the vehicle is when traffic officers make a stop or surveillance cameras record the license plates of vehicles leaving a crime scene. The legalization will also facilitate the owners lawfully selling their cars, officials said.
The presidential decree covers illegally imported vehicles in 10 states including Baja California, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas.