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CAB010 / Mexico / SAN PEDRO’S NEW MAYOR: BOTH FRIEND AND FOE OF ORGANIZED CRIME

SUBJECT: SAN PEDRO’S NEW MAYOR: BOTH FRIEND AND FOE OF ORGANIZED CRIME

¶1. (C) Summary. In his October 31 inauguration address, San Pedro Mayor Raul Valencia lauded the execution of four suspected narco-traffickers — four hours prior to the discovery of their bodies in the Mexico’s Federal District. Valencia’s revelation, combined with his prior public statements that he has organized an off-the-books `bad-boy’ squad in San Pedro (an upper-class suburb of Monterrey), has made it even clearer that as mayor he plans a hardhitting, but wrong-headed, approach to organized crime. Based on an audiotape which surfaced during Valencia’s mayoral campaign, to the effect that he would negotiate with the cartels, and our own conversations with him, our belief is that Valencia’s “bad-boy” squad (his terminology) has links to the Los Similares cartel. In any event, Valencia has sparked controversy in Monterrey, with some applauding him and others, including many of his fellow incoming mayors, labeling him misguided. End Summary.

¶2. (C) As reported on October 9, then-San Pedro Mayor-elect Raul Valencia was alerted via taped DEA intel about a potential threat to his life. Valencia surmised that the threat came Enrique and Jose Quintero of the Quintero Cartel and sought protection (which was provided) from local Mexican army authorities. On October 27, in a brief encounter with the Consul General, Valencia stated that he was no longer worried about the Quintero brothers as they had been “picked up” (he did not specify by whom) in Mexico City. Three days later, on October 30, San Pedro police officials told the Regional Security Office that the Quintero brothers were dead. Notwithstanding earlier Consulate requests to refrain from making the source of the threat information public, Valencia did just that, stating in October 30 television and newspaper interviews that the Consulate had taped a conversation of a threat from the Quinteros and had passed it to him.

¶3. (C) In his October 31 inauguration address, Valencia went even further. He stated that the Quinteros had been killed in Mexico City, a declaration which reportedly generated applause from the audience. Later that day, the bodies of Enrique and Jose Quintero, along with two others, were discovered in the Federal District, along with signs indicating that such was the fate of kidnappers. (The Quinteros were suspected to have been behind many of the kidnappings in San Pedro.) According to the local press, however, the bodies were only discovered by Mexican authorities four to five hours after Valencia’s statement, provoking the still unanswered question of how Valencia knew about the execution.

¶4. (C) On November 2, Valencia continued his barrage. He said that his administration in San Pedro would take on organized crime notwithstanding the fact that under Mexican jurisprudence this responsibility falls to federal and state authorities. He accused his fellow mayors of “hacerse gueyes,” which roughly translates to playing dumb or looking the other way. Again, Valencia reiterated his intent to form an intel squad to eradicate organized crime in San Pedro.

¶5. (C) Local reaction to Valencia’s many statements has been varied. Some have applauded his tough public stance while others note that he is only speaking out because he has protection. Although the incoming Governor has not weighed in, the new state Attorney General has publicly declared that he “supports” Valencia. Incoming Monterrey Mayor Luis Padilla, publicly challenged Valencia’s assumption of the role as principal anti-crime fighter, noting that as Mayor of Monterrey he was elected to respect the law and would do just that. Padilla added that security would only improve through actions, not talk.

¶6. (C) Based on Valencia’s demonstrated closeness to the Los Similares cartel, we believe that Valencia’s so-called “bad-boy” squad has links to that group. Particularly worrisome have been Valencia’s statements to us that he has obtained assurances from Los Similares that they will cooperate in ridding San Pedro of kidnappers and his acknowledgements that he has received phone calls from Los Similares reps. In addition, during the spring mayoral campaign, a surreptitiously-obtained audiotape surfaced which contained comments by Valencia about negotiating with organized crime to improve security in terms of kidnapping and common crime.

¶7. (C) On October 23, the Consul General spoke with outgoing San Pedro Mayor Antonio Diaz about Valencia’s course. Diaz characterized Fernandez as “eccentric.” Controversy should be expected, he said, as during Valencia’s prior term as Mayor of San Pedro during the late 1980s, a mail bomb was sent to his house and exploded. Diaz further stated that given Valencia’s considerable wealth and social status Valencia did not see the need to respect the restraints that other policymakers worked under. Valencia is accustomed to taking his own counsel and not listening to anyone, Diaz added. (Comment: This has been Consul General’s experience with Valencia as well. End Comment.)

¶8. (C) However, some law enforcement authorities here think that despite his “royalty” status, Valencia may have bitten off more than he can chew; they speculate that SIEDO (Assistant Attorney General’s Office for Special Investigations on Organized Crime) may call him in to depose regarding his knowledge of the Quinteros executions. Even if the feds don’t act, we believe Valencia’s apparent bargain with the bad guys is fraught with peril for him; his future survival may now depend upon his ability to keep on good terms with the Los Similares cartel. Ironically, it is likely that the new Mayor’s efforts/actions will eventually do more to destabilize San Pedro than to create a safer, more secure, city.

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