Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Police Kill Four in La Ceiba

Eight police officers in La Ceiba have been suspended after witnesses reportedly saw some of those suspended officers arresting four young people who were found dead the next morning.

And these are not just ordinary cops-on-the-beat. They are members of one of the special units that have been organized to combat specific crimes.

The suspended officers are members of the local Grupo Especial Anti-Secuestro (Special Anti-Kidnapping Group) or GEAS.  Also suspended was the police commander in La Ceiba, Marco Tulio Cruz Aguilar.

The four youths were asphixiated by tying plastic bags around their heads, with their hands bound behind their back.  Their bodies were  then thrown into a stream.  The autopsy report indicates they were tortured before they were killed.

This is not the first time GEAS has been involved in controversy.  

GEAS was modeled after the Colombian Army's Anti-Kidnapping unit, GAULA, and its members were trained by elements of the Colombian Army.  Shortly after a GEAS/GAULA operation to free Porfirio Lobo Sosa's cousin from his kidnappers last November, six bodies were found in the same area.  Everyone agreed they were the kidnappers, but the police said it was a coincidence that they turned up dead.

Nor is this the first accusation against the La Ceiba GEAS group in particular. 

Last November, an officer who was part of the La Ceiba GEAS unit was captured by San Pedro police while he was attempting to kidnap a San Pedro businessman.

The prosecutor's office has opened an investigation of the latest incident.

Police commander Juan Carlos Bonilla says the suspensions are so that these officers don't get in the way of the investigation.

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