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Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013

Duarte Múgica leaving as Baja California military commander

Governor had asked that he stay

He will be succeeded by Gen. Gilberto Hernández Andreu, who has been arresting meth producers in Jalisco

Also, Gen. Gilberto Landeros Briseño of the Second Military Zone in Tijuana is being succeeded by Gen. Gabriel García Rincón

     General Alfonso Duarte Múgica, military commander for Baja California, Baja California Sur and Sonora states since 2008, is being reassigned to head the 1st Army Corps in Mexico City, Mexican media reported.

     Also departing is Gilberto Landeros Briseño, head of the Second Military Zone in Tijuana. He is being succeeded by Gen. Gabriel García Rincón.

    Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán had asked President Enrique Peña Nieto to keep Duarte on as head of the Second Military Region. Osuna Millán is a bc ad lauds departing generals member of the National Action Party, while Peña Nieto is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.  PRI Mayor Carlos Bustamante was very sorry to see the generals go, as he credited them with reducing violence.

     Violence in Tijuana has dropped substantially during Duarte's command.

     Full-page ad from the governor congratulating Duarte and Landeros for their work (PDF, Frontera, Jan. 4)

     There were some hiccups. The military arrested former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon on suspicion of possession of illegal weapons in 2011. The charges were later dismissed. Duarte also had a run-in with Osuna's then-second-in-command in September 2011. The second-in-command, Cuauhtémoc Cárdona, left his post in 2012, ostensibly to run for governor in 2013.

     Duarte was promoted to divisional general in February 2012, the highest ranking possible in the military, Frontera newspaper said.

     The new head of the Second Military Region will be Gen. Gilberto Hernández Andreu, 60, commander of the 15th Military Zone, based in La Mojonera, Jalisco since August 2011. He was promoted to divisional general in November 2012. He became commander of the 41st Military Zone in Puerto Vallarta in May 2010. From 1999 to 2001, he was a defense attaché in the Mexican Embassy in Washington.

       In February 2012, Hernández Andreu's forces in Jalisco arrested Jaime Herrera Herrera, alleged to be responsible for the introduction of vast quantities of meth into Southern California. Herrera Herrera reportedly worked for Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, whose drug-trafficking network appears to have largely taken over the Tijuana plaza.

        Hernández Andreu also was a top aide in the Estado Mayor (Presidential Guard) from 1993-1995. PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was under the protection of the Estado Mayor when he was assassinated in Tijuana in 1994.    

      García Rincón has been in charge of a program that has been giving lie-detector tests to members of the armed forces. He also served as part of an air operations unit in Chiapas when the Zapatistas were in rebellion in the 1990s.

      Story in El Mexicano.

      Update, Jan. 4: Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante sorry to see generals go. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 7: Bustamante places ad in Frontera lauding generals (PDF).

     Update, Jan. 5: Gen. Gilberto Hernández Andreu takes over as commander of Second Military Region. Frontera (PDF).


      Story on Landeros's complaint about release of workers arrested in marijuana megaplantation case.