A federal judge ordered 12 of the 29 Michoacán state officials and mayors captured in last May’s dramatic sweep by federal police released for lack of evidence. The operation created huge tension between the government and PRD governor Leonel Godoy. Those released included Citlalli Fernández, Godoy’s former Secretary for Public Security. (Universal 1/31)
Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont answered critics of the massive operation last week in Michoacán during a press conference–only the second one of his tenure.
The operation was carried out in order to close off any room for maneuver by the criminal organizations that seek to entangle, corrupt or pressure public officials. It was an action taken by the federal Government to support politicians and to say that we are here to defend politics from financial pressures or the extorsions of organized crime. … The timing of an investigation is set by the need to protect the innocent, to avoid alerting the guilty, and not to confuse society. The federal Government has the support of the state governments, and in this case the Governor of Michoacán has stated that this operation was necessary; I am in contact with [Governor] Leonel Godoy and he makes it his job not to slow down or frustrate [the investigation]. (Reforma 5/31)
In an unprecedented operation, federal police and the Army arrested 30 state and local officials in Michoacán for giving protection to the La Familia cartel. Those arrested included ten mayors (6 from the PRI, 2 PRD, and 2 PAN), a judge, and several police chiefs. The most prominent state official arrested was Citlalli Fernández, the former Secretary of Public Security of the state and close advisor to Governor Leonel Godoy. The arrests were a deep blow to the PRD, which views Michoacán as one of its key bastions. Godoy was not given any advance notice of the sweep; only the next day did Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont state clearly that neither Godoy nor his predecessor, Lazaro Cárdenas Batel, was a target. PRI and PRD leaders met urgently with Gómez Mont the next day. PRD party president Jesús Ortega said, “We made clear to the Secretary that the PRD will not allow an issue of such importance as public security … to be used for electoral purposes.” This was the first time during the Calderón government that PRD leaders have visited the Ministry of Government offices. (Universal 5/27, Excelsior 5/29)