Failing State Watch: Nuevo Laredo police chief gunned down

Posted by: Phineas on February 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre came into office on New Year’s Day vowing to fight the corruption and criminal violence tearing his state apart. One of his first acts was to appoint retired general Manuel Farfán as police chief of Nuevo Laredo, just across the border from Laredo, Texas, and one of Mexico’s most violent cities.

Less than a month into his job, Chief Farfán was shot dead on the streets of his city:

Gunmen killed the recently appointed police chief of Nuevo Laredo late Wednesday in a brazen response to the new governor’s vow to restore order to the violent Mexican state bordering south Texas and the Rio Grande.

Manuel Farfán, 55, a retired army brigadier general, was shot down on a downtown street shortly before midnight. At least one of the general’s police bodyguards and his personal secretary also were killed.

Farfán was one of 11 retired army generals recently named to head municipal police departments across Tamaulipas state. He took office with the change of city and state governments on Jan. 1.

Upon taking office New Year’s Day, Tamaulipas Gov. Egidio Torre had vowed that his government would put an end to the state’s “cruel, unjust and difficult” wave of violence.

“The people of Tamaulipas want to trust again,” said Torre, who was elected following last June’s assassination by gangsters of his brother, the gubernatorial candidate of the state’s long ruling party.

“We are going to diminish violence at its root causes and extinguish impunity,” he said.

Aside from expressing condolences to Farfán’s survivors and dispatching the commander of the state police – also a retired army general – neither Torre nor other senior Tamaulipas officials commented on the assassination Thursday.

The killing is comment enough: one theory is that Chief Farfán refused to be bought or or play along with the Zeta cartel, whose “territory” Nuevo Laredo is, and they decided to show what happens. Another is that he was killed by the Gulf Cartel, which is at “war” with its former vassals and may have considered the Chief a threat to their efforts to take Nuevo Laredo back.

The killing of Chief Farfán is just the latest sign of the breakdown of the rule of law in Mexico, but he, at least, made it almost a month; in 2005, Nuevo Laredo Chief Dominguez was killed just hours after being appointed. As the article mentions, the entire police force of one small town near Monterrey quit after two of its officers were beheaded, and the police chief of Cancún was tortured and killed in 2009 by one of his own men, who was in the pay of the local cartel. Local and state police officers are either intimidated, corrupted, or assassinated. As I’ve said before, when the State can’t even protect its own, words such as “sovereignty” and “rule of law” are meaningless.

It’s small wonder that some colleges are canceling their study-abroad programs in Mexico.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

RSS feed for comments on this post.

7 Responses to “Failing State Watch: Nuevo Laredo police chief gunned down”


  1. Tex says:

    Living in San Antonio, Texas, just a 2 and 1/2 hour drive away from Nuevo Laredo, two things come to mind when I see news stories like this, which happen too frequently for my comfort. Number one – it is amazing to me that there is a real war going on all along the Texas border with nothing but a very shallow river separating the war zone from major Texas cites/towns and the Obama administration seems to think nothing of it. No serious increased military presence along the border in Texas. People living on the Texas side of the border hear firefights day and night and sometimes the bullets even come across the border to hit structures on the Texas side. We should have forward operating bases all along the U.S./Mexico border manned with regular army/marine combat personnel as they do all along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border and it should be patrolled continuously. Number two – it is amazing to me that there are some people in Mexico who still take these jobs knowing they’ll probably be killed. Farfan was the second police chief of Nuevo Laredo assassinated in the past 5 years. Plenty of other police chiefs in northern Mexico have been assassinated regularly, not to mention mayors and governors, but still someone steps up to replace them. My respect goes out to those guys. We offer precious little in the way of logistical support and training to those people in Mexico who are putting their lives on the line fighting these narco terrorists. If they lose the war down there we are going to be in a real world of hurt up here security wise.

  2. Carlos says:

    What amazes me is that the LSM has gotten all excited about something on the order of 100 deaths in Cairo in the last week, yet think nothing of 35,000 deaths in Mexico in the last 5 years due to this war.

    Could be that a Mexican life is worth only 1/350 the value of an Egyption life?

    Or maybe they’re just flat out racists.

  3. Peter says:

    A couple of things. These fights in Mexico are because we in America do very little to control our use of Cocaine and Heroin. Never forget, those murders are a direct result of our actions.

    Those fights are nothing more than the fights we had in our various cities over which gang had the lion’s share of the drug trade.

    Mexico a failing state? Mexicans are dying for our sins.

  4. Carlos says:

    Ya know, Peter, that sounds so nicey-nicey, but I’ve got real problems with it.

    First, who appointed you judge of the morality on this side of the border?

    Second, how many drug deals have you called the police about? Don’t tell me you’ve never seen one going down, cause only a blind person could say that.

    Third, how many more innocent lives, Mexican and American, have to be lost before you figure it’s time for BOTH governments to do something about it?

    Fourth, how much blame do you place on our government, which has ignored all the mules bringing so much death and destruction into our country?

    And last, since most of the Mexican cartels have set up shop within the borders of the United States in order to expand their “businesses”, how long do you think it will be before we start seeing the same on this side of the border?

    All the blaming of our own citizens may be fine for a “hate America” liberal, but it really doesn’t get at a solution to the problem now, does it?

    And that doesn’t even start to get at the root of the problem, the “new morality” which is taught in our government indoctrination schools.

  5. Frabk Nitti says:

    thank you Carlos……could not have replied any better.

    was also wondering how a Lefty found his way to here?

  6. Phineas says:


    Yep, our appetite for coke and smack create a market that the cartels want to serve. I’ll agree with that. But…

    Never forget, those murders are a direct result of our actions.

    Bunk. Those killings are a “direct result” of the men who pulled the triggers and those who give them the orders. No one else. Same with supplying the drugs: while demand exists here, they choose to serve it. They are not mindless robots responding to outside stimuli, but human beings with free will who have chosen to do what they do.

    They are the ones responsible. Not us, not anyone else.

  7. Kate says:

    Well just bash the USA…where these poor Mexicans are clamoring to escape the killing and corruption for a simple job.

    I fear for anyone who lives within in walking/driving distance of the Mexican border. I too fear it won’t be long before we have to deal with the same problems. Why do we think it’s above us and will never happen in the US. Why do you think they use organized crime in the form of gangs in our US cities as part of their distribution network? Anyone in gangbanger territory picking up the phone and dialing 911 when they see deals going down? No one? Why is that you ask? INTIMIDATION is already in place. Killings and drive-by shootings happen daily. So we should blame the addict I suppose.

    We tried prohibition years ago…how did that work. We have legalized alcohol again and still have problems with DUI deaths. NO manner of education can save people from themselves.

    I say a prayer for those brave people in Mexico who are choosing to make a difference and stand against corruption. I pray that SOMEONE IN THE US STATE DEPARTMENT will hear their call for help.