Tuesday, February 19, 2019

In Search for La Linea

Excerpts from Borderland Beat book - Chapter - In Search for La Línea


Most citizens here are afraid of La Línea. After two years as a policeman, Hector also fears them. "They are in charge. They give the orders. It's unbelievable, but that is just how it is."
I got some insight in to the background of the enforcers and the sicarios of the Juarez cartel, La Línea. Their job, keep all rival cartels away from the plaza, enforce the code of the cartel, protect the trafficking operation on the Mexico side of the border and settle scores, punish anyone who dares to interfere with operations or betrays the cartel institution. 
I was not naive, I knew that La Línea was sometimes the actual local police. At one point, I asked about police corruption in Juarez and I was corrected, "Corruption? The police are the cartel."
It was really simple I was told. The criminal organization is a straight line, they say. All the drug dealers, hitmen (sicarios), the police who protect them and the mules who carry the cocaine to the U.S. must all be aligned. Straight shooters. The Juarez drug cartel created a new term used to describe their organization. It started as a concept, a method of operation, then it became a group of enforcers. So, they call themselves "The Line" (La Línea) and everyone fears it. 


I survived that night in Juarez. The next morning, I was outside the streets of Juarez and noticed many federal police and soldiers almost in every corner. I ate some tacos of barbacoa real early in the morning, the streets were bustling with people doing their daily chores, going about their business. Sitting there, among the masses of people, for a minute I was just another person among many. 
Walking back to the international bridge I saw three federal police pickup trucks running lights and siren with three or four federal police officers in the back holding for dear life. They were all in black wearing ballistic helmets, ski masks and all had long rifles strapped to their shoulder. I wonder if they were responding to another daily execution or shootout somewhere in Juarez. It did not seem to faze the public as they seem to go about their normal business, like nothing was happening, just another day in the city.

Portion of the movie from "Sicario" filmed in Ciudad Juarez.





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