Grisly murder points to drugs, powerful figures in Mexico
December 6, 1996
Web posted at: 9:00 p.m. EST
MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- Gangland style murders are nothing new
in Mexico City, but the particularly gruesome slaying of a
well-connected tabloid magazine publisher his journalist wife and their children was
clearly no ordinary mob hit.
The murders are the latest -- and most grisly -- crime that
appears to involve drugs and high level Mexican officials.
The entire family was bludgeoned to death Tuesday night as
they slept. Police said on Friday they found the bodies of Fernando Balderas,
his wife Yolanda Figueroa, and their three children on Thursday lying in pools of blood
in their stylish home in the Pedregal district of Mexico
Why were they killed? Revenge is the apparent motive, but
it's a mystery why the victims incurred such a fierce wrath
and who could have inflicted it.
"It doesn't look as though robbery was the motive. There
were valuable objects in the house that were not taken,
though the house was left in disarray," said Jose Elias
Romero, a city criminal prosecutor.
Balderas is a complicated figure. Depending on which source
you read, he is depicted as an anti-drug crusader or corrupt
degenerate. He published a magazine about crime, murder and
corruption, and in the past worked for Mexico City's
notoriously corrupt judicial police.
Romero said in a press conference that Balderas had been
charged with raping a maid in his own home and with extortion
while he worked for the judicial police.
His wife, Yolanda Figueroa, had recently published "The Gulf
Capo," a book about one of Mexico's most infamous drug
traffickers, Juan Garcia Abrego. Abrego was extradited from
Mexico to the United States this year and is awaiting
sentencing after being convicted in Houston.
In one of numerous mysteries in the case, it's not clear
whether the family was killed because of what he did, or she
did, or both.
Some people believe that a clue to the murders may appear on
the first page of the book Figueroa wrote about the drug
Clues on the first page?
The book's acknowledgment is written to Mexico's powerful
Attorney General -- who was fired this week, just two days
before the assassination. Ricardo Cordero Ontiveros said he
quit his job to denounce corruption.
Immediately after he left office, police arrested Ontiveros,
charging him with corruption and confining him to jail in
Mexico City officials are meeting with the new attorney
general to try to solve the murder. "We're investigating Mr.
Baldera's activities as a publisher, his police activities
and his wife's activities as a writer, as well as the
family's business dealings," he said.
Dealings, officials indicate, could be linked to drug
trafficking. Already, the crime has undermined attempts to
clean up Mexico City's violent and corrupt image.
Correspondent Lucia Newman and Reuters contributed to this report.
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