Diego Lara, Jaime Martinez, Robert Olmeda, Dante Cedillo Hernandez and Uriel Galvan.COURTESY
The San Miguel viewpoint shows the panoramic view of Lagos de Moreno. It’s Friday, August 11, one of those summer days where it gets dark later. Roberto Olmeda has met four of his lifelong friends: Dante Hernández, Jaime Adolfo Martínez, Diego Lara and Uriel Galván. Without even knowing it, that meeting will be the last that his relatives will hear from them for several days. Since then, the information about the case has been marked by the indignation of the parents, who seek certainties among the many unknowns; and because of the slow and confusing progress in the investigations, which point to the violent imprint of organized crime in the case through the photographs of the gagged youths and the videos in which stabbings and bloody bodies lying on the ground are observed.
The central viewpoint is one of the common meeting points for the five friends, who are between 19 and 22 years old. They go there from time to time to exercise and hang out. That last Friday, Olmeda sent his brother Miguel a photo of him from there, while he waited for more friends to arrive. A few hours later, another of the boys, Diego, contacted his family at 10:55 p.m. to let them know that he was coming home. But he never came back.
Uriel’s father, Jaime Galván, tried to call him on the phone several times, but received no answer either. Hours passed, and he still had no sign of the boys. The pain began to appear between the families. “Since last night, our lives have been plunged into anguish,” Magalli, Diego’s sister, told networks.
The despair of the families due to the lack of information led them to demonstrate on Sunday outside the gates of the JFV stadium, where the semifinal of the Jalisco Cup between Lagos de Moreno and Teocaltiche was being held. They protested what they considered a lack of interest on the part of the Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office and demanded that they speed up the search. The mayor of the town, Teculi Hernández, tried to show his support in the place. “I’m going to be on the lookout all the time,” he commented then. That same afternoon, he reported that he had begun to communicate with various security authorities to advance the investigations. The agents of the Public Ministry began the first operation at that moment. More than 24 hours had passed without news from the boys.
Blows and bloody bodies
Photograph showing five young men tied up in Jalisco, Mexico. COURTESY
On Monday afternoon, the Prosecutor’s Office finds Uriel’s car near the viewpoint. He was parked and without any damage. That morning, at half past two, they are told that there is another car on fire on the road that connects Lagos de Moreno with the municipality of Encarnación de Díaz, known as La Chona, near a store called Nuevo Milenio. . In the trunk of the vehicle was the charred body of a person, of whom the authorities have not provided details. The Jalisco prosecutor, Luis Joaquín Méndez, affirmed on Tuesday that the remains are under study, in order to determine the identity.
While official information appeared little by little, on Tuesday macabre images began to spread on social networks. On the one hand, a photograph was leaked showing five young people on their knees, beaten and gagged, but alive. The despair of the families increases when a video of just over a minute that shows the terror comes to light: two bloody bodies, with white shirts, lying on the ground; In the background of the image, one of the boys is forced to hit and stab another, who is lying on the ground without moving. The special prosecutor for missing persons, Blanca J. Trujillo, stated that the families saw the content of the images: “They tell us that, preliminarily, there is a high probability that the young people who appear in the photograph are their relatives.” .
Some of the parents have avoided seeing those stark images. Roberto’s father, Armando Olmeda, is one of them. Olmeda maintains hope that his son will return home. “There are a lot of videos coming out. I haven’t seen them, I haven’t wanted to see them (…) I don’t want to hurt my mind. I want to remain strong, because I have hope that it will come ”, he expressed on Tuesday in an interview with Ciro Gómez Leyva. The authorities have put those images in the investigation folder, to try to detail what happened in recent days.
The footprint of organized crime
A burnt-out vehicle was found in Encarnación de Díaz, Jalisco, in August 2023. JALISCO PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE
The Prosecutor’s Office points out, based on the elements collected in recent days, that the case has the traces of organized crime. In one of the 48 operations carried out, the agents searched an address where they found evidence that could be related to the disappearance of the young people: a motorcycle, long weapons (with their respective chargers), stolen vehicle license plates and some bags of drugs. .
In the video released, the legend “pure MZ” appears, accompanied by a happy emoticon with a hat. The initial references to Ismael El Mayo Zambada, head of the Sinaloa Cartel. The northern limits of the State of Jalisco have become an area punished by the war between the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel.
The strategic general of State Security, Ricardo Sánchez, pointed out that the disappearance of the young people was one of the “unprecedented events” that had occurred in the territory in recent weeks, together with the disappearance of eight other people related to a clandestine operations center in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara or the recording of an attack with improvised explosives. In recent months, the controversy over the disappearances had also left marks in the State, which has 14,078 disappeared, according to the latest official figures of July 31. The municipality of Encarnación de Díaz – about 40 kilometers from Lagos de Moreno – was one of those samples between July 27 and 28, when four women disappeared, of whom nothing is known to date.
The Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, has assured that the case is “obviously” linked to organized crime, and has reported the deployment of hundreds of agents throughout the region. “It is a matter of federal competence, (but) we are going to continue doing what we have to do,” he assured this Monday on his networks. Alfaro was involved in a controversy last July, after stating that he would suspend any search procedure that arose from an anonymous complaint. The president made the decision after six police officers and the Prosecutor’s Office died in Tlajomulco due to an attack with explosives. “Any procedure that arises from an anonymous complaint is suspended, until we have an adequate protocol to respond to this type of circumstance,” he explained on networks.
The case of the young people has reached the National Palace this Wednesday, although there has been no formal response. Asked about the subject, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, avoided talking about it, responding with “I don’t hear” and a joke.
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