Michoacan judge Efrain Cazares Lopez

A judge who freed 12 of the 35 officials arrested during the "Michoacanazo," a 2009 mass arrest of Michoacan state and local officials suspected of involvement with organized crime, has been removed from his post due to judicial misconduct.

On October 24 the Federal Judiciary Council (CJF) ruled to remove Efrain Cazares Lopez, a district judge in Michoacan, due to "serious offenses" committed during his tenure, reported El Universal. The judgement is not final, pending a possible appeal by the Supreme Court.

Cazares was the judge who freed 12 out of the 35 state and local officials arrested on suspicion of involvement with organized crime during the 2009 mass arrest known as the "Michoacanazo."

During his time as a judge, Cazares also ruled in favor of former congressman and current fugitive Julio Cesar Godoy Toscano, the brother of then-governor Leonel Godoy, who the Attorney General's Office has publicly accused of having links to Caballero Templarios leader "La Tuta" and accepting large sums of money from the Familia Michoacana.

According to EFE, these suspicious rulings led the Attorney General's Office (PGR) to lodge several administrative and criminal complaints against Cazares, resulting in him being suspended in June of this year. Currently the PGR is investigating Cazares for links to organized crime and money laundering, though no criminal charges have yet been filed.

InSight Crime Analysis

It remains to be seen how the removal of Cazares, and possible future criminal charges against him, will affect the cases he presided over, particularly the "Michoacanazo."

The operation that was initially hailed as a historic step forward in fighting official corruption, but fell apart when by 2011 every official had been released due to lack of evidence.

The series of arrests was one of several high-profile attempts to strike blows to politicians with links to organized crime that resulted in embarrassing failures for the Calderon administration. Another was the arrest of former Tijuana mayor Hank Rhon who was detained last year for weapons possession and then released after being formally charged with murder. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

If we are to believe the Colombian government, the question is not if, but rather when, an end to 50 years of civil conflict will be reached. Yet the promise of President Juan Manuel Santos that peace can be achieved before the end of 2014 is simply...

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

While there is no doubt that the FARC have only a tenuous control over some of their more remote fronts, there is no evidence of any overt dissident faction within the movement at the moment.

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

When considering the possibilities that the FARC may break apart, the Ivan Rios Bloc is a helpful case study because it is perhaps the weakest of the FARC's divisions in terms of command and control, and therefore runs the highest risk of fragmentation and criminalization.

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 leader Carlos Lechuga Mojica, alias "El Viejo Lin," is one of the most prominent spokesmen for El Salvador's gang truce. InSight Crime co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Mojica in Cojutepeque prison in October 2012 about how the maras view the controversial peace process, which has...

A Look Inside El Salvador's Prison Nightmare (Video)

A Look Inside El Salvador's Prison Nightmare (Video)

El Salvador's Cojutepeque jail is a perfect illustration of how prisons in this country have become the main breeding and training grounds for street gangs.

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

In October 2012, the US Treasury Department designated the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). While this assertion seems unfounded, there is one case that illustrates just why the US government is worried about the future.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with the seemingly intractable issue of street gangs. But it also creates new dangers.

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

On May 27, 1964 up to one thousand Colombian soldiers, backed by fighter planes and helicopters, launched an assault against less than fifty guerrillas in the tiny community of Marquetalia. The aim of the operation was to stamp out once and for all the communist threat in...