A Mexican citizen, enjoying a quiet afternoon with his wife and two young daughters in a riverside park, was murdered by agents assigned to a US Border Patrol Marine unit.
On September 3, 2012, Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza, 36, a bricklayer by trade, had taken his wife and two young daughters to Viveros park on the banks of the Rio Grande river to celebrate the birthday of his youngest daughter.Guillermo worshiped his daughters as many of us do ours. It was what his daughter has requested for her birthday. Grilling fajitas in the park. A child’s simple request that in hours, would turn into an unimaginable tragedy.
On the United States side of the Rio Grande, across from where Pedrazo and his family are cooking, a US Border Patrol has chased someone into the river. The swimmer is trying to swim across to the Mexican side when a Border Patrol air boat arrives to assist the agent on land in apprehending the swimmer.
The agents in the airboat, both with their faces covered to conceal their identities, are circling and harassing the swimmer who is having trouble coping with the fast moving current of the river and the waves from the air boat.
The families on the Mexican side in the park, numbering some 50 people, see this and begin shouting at the agents in the boat to stop trying to kill the swimmer.
The man in the water is quickly ignored as the agents turn their boat and unleash 6 shots from an AR-15 towards the families on the Mexican side of the river.
Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza, with his young daughter at his side, is hit in the chest and leg and falls to the ground. The agents in the air boat and the ground unit quickly leave the scene without so much as a backward glance at the commotion they have caused. The man in the water is forgotten in their haste to leave the scene of the crime.
Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza dies an hour later after being driven to a local hospital in Nuevo Laredo, leaving a wife and two young daughters wondering what in the hell just happened and why.
Before the body of Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza is cold. the Border Patrol in Laredo Texas issues a statement that said in part.
“Our agents fired because their unit was subjected to rocks being thrown at them from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. The FBI is investigating ”
An estimated 50 people were in the park that evening and witnessed the event. One, a US citizen recorded the incident and the aftermath on her cell phone. NOT ONE PERSON INTERVIEWED NOR THE VIDEO SHOWED ANY ROCKS BEING THROWN AT THE HEAVILY ARMED BORDER PATROL AGENTS ON THE RIVER OR RIVERBANK
As I mentioned, the FBI is investigating this incident. Not the murder of a Mexican citizen standing in his own country, but for an ASSAULT ON A FEDERAL OFFICER that did not happen.
HUNTING MEXICANS FOR SPORT UNDER COLOR OF AUTHORITY
The majority of Border Patrol agents are dedicated to their jobs and upholding the law, but it’s that “1%” that make them all look bad.
Agents have learned the magic phrase “They were throwing rocks and I feared for my life” is a guarantee of no punishment when they shoot an unarmed Mexican, whether it’s in the United States or the victim is on Mexican soil. It’s been proven time and again.
In 2006, Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett, who frequently expressed a hatred of Latinos and had a history of domestic violence and assaults, shot and killed Francisco Dominguez, one of a group of migrants he had caught in the desert of southern Arizona. Dominguez, who stood 5’4″ and weighed 110# was on his knees as ordered by Corbett who stood 6’5 and weighed 240#. Corbett shot Dominguez claiming the kid was about to bash his head in with a rock. After two mistrials, Corbett is still with the Border Patrol. His actions cost US taxpayers $850,000.00 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of the victim.
June 7, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa Jr. on bicycle patrol in El Paso shoots and kills 15 year old Sergio Adrian Hernández Güereca, a Mexican youth standing on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. Mara claims that he was “attacked by rocks” and “feared for his life” . Cell phone video from pedestrians who witnessed the attack and witness testimony show now rocks were thrown. After an “investigation”, Mesa, who was wearing body armor and a hard shell bicycle helmet is cleared. It was later discovered that Mesa was given two days off to recover from the “stress of the shooting” and returned to duty. A suit by the victims families was dismissed on “technicalities”.
July 7, 2012, Juan Pablo Pérez Santillán was shot and killed by Border Patrol agents as he was gathering firewood along the Rio Grande on the Mexican side of the river. There were two incidents where shots were fired. One incident, agents claimed “someone threw rocks at them” and in the other, agents “thought they saw a man with a gun”… This murder was quickly swept under the rug after protests by the Mexican government.
These are but a few of what has become a commonplace occurrence. Agents firing their weapons without thoughts of the consequences since apparently there aren’t any and thinking how “hunting people can be so much fun!”
MURDER OF GUILLERMO AREVALO PREDROZA DEMANDS ACTION AND JUSTICE
The public outcry over the murder of this man has been swift and sure. And the demands for Justice are being heard loud and clear, from Mexico City to Washington D.C.
Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega of Nuevo Laredo Diocese:
“It’s a crime that should not go unpunished. The victim was totally innocent standing on the soil of his country. The authorities should demand that all be done to assure justice in the end.”
Benjamín Galván Gómez, Mayor of Nuevo Laredo
I ask that all American law enforcement agencies respect the lives of Mexico’s citizens and that the authorities vigorously investigate and hold those responsible to answer under the law.
In a rare show of bi-partisan cooperation, both the Senate of the Chamber of Deputies passed resolutions “strongly condemning” the murder of Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza and demanding a prompt investigation of the matter. They also demanded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand the arrest and extradition of the agents responsible for the murder which of course, will never happen. They also suggested that the Ministry assist the family of Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza in legal matters relating to the murder.
The Mexican Senate also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to open dialogue with the United State on the use of deadly force against the framework of international human rights.
INVESTIGATION INTO DEATH CANNOT BE IGNORED THIS TIME
This time, the murder of a Mexican citizen standing on the soil of his own country, will not and cannot be ignored.
Veronica Martinez, the US citizen who witnessed the murder and captured it on her cell phone video camera, also came forward and gave testimony to the PGR in Nuevo Laredo and later to filed a complaint with the Border Patrol in Laredo Texas. Copies of her video were given to investigators in both countries, made accessible to the news media and is currently available on YouTube.
According to Martinez sworn testimony,
“A masked agent on the boat pointed his gun at me as soon as I arrived at the river. The shooting didn’t start until several minutes later when people on the Mexican bank began haranguing the agents as they circled close to the fleeing swimmer. Afterward, an agent on the U.S. side of the river hopped into the boat, and it sped upstream toward downtown Laredo.”
Martinez testified that the shooting was unprovoked, as did the widow and others who witnessed the event.
The widow of Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza, Isabel Lam Dora Gallegos, recently spent more than 4 hours with US officials investigating the murder of her husband and emphatically stated what other witnesses who came forward have said, and that is THAT NO ROCKS WERE THROWN AT ANY TIME AT THE AGENTS. Only words demanding the agents quit trying to “drown the swimmer in the river with their boat” Words don’t kill, bullets do!
Gallegos is dedicated to seeing that justice is done against those who murdered her husband. She can’t identify the killers as they were wearing masks to to disguise their identities, as the other witnesses have stated. But their supervisors know.
As of yesterday, the two agents who have not been identified, were suspended and put on administrative duty with pay. A small but important step in this investigation.
CHILDREN STILL DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING
Beside his widow, Guillermo Arévalo Pedroza left behind two young daughters. Priscilla, age 10, and Mariana, age 9, whose birthday they were celebrating. Pedroza was holding Mariana in his arms when he was shot. As he died, she was covered with her fathers blood.
The girls still don’t understand what happened or the changes in their lives the murder of their father will bring. They still live in the small house owned by the mother of the widow. A small and simple house on the western side of Nuevo Laredo that Pedraza took great pride in.
DIF (Department of Infants and Families) has been out to visit the widow and the children along with the wife of Nuevo Laredo’s mayor, to offer help and support to the family. The State of Tamaulipas where Nuevo Laredo is located has said that it will provide scholarships for the girls educations and a stipend for the family but nothing has materialized yet.
And as the days go by and reality sets in, the widow of Guillermo Arévalo Pedroza is determined more than ever to see that justice is done against the murderers of her husband.
CELL PHONE VIDEO OF BORDER PATROL MURDER OF MEXICAN CITIZEN
THE SHOTS CAN BE HEARD AT ABOUT 2:23 ON THE VIDEO AFTER WHICH ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE
AT NO TIME DO YOU SEE ANY ROCKS BEING THROWN AT AGENTS AND ONE CAN SEE THE WIDTH OF THE RIVER WHERE THROWING ROCKS WOULD BE AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY WERE IT TO OCCUR. TOWARDS THE END OF THE VIDEO THE BORDER PATROL AGENTS WHO HAD NO CONCERN FOR HUMAN LIFE ARE SEEN FLEEING AS THE VICTIM LAY DYING WITH HIS DAUGHTER IN HIS ARMS.
VIDEO SHOWING TACTICS OF US BORDER PATROL UNITS THAT WERE EMPLOYED ON SWIMMER PRIOR TO MURDER OF MEXICAN CITIZEN
THIS VIDEO WAS TAKEN ANOTHER DAY AND TIME BUT SHOWS THE COMPLETE DISREGARD OF THE BORDER PATROL FOR HUMAN LIFE AS DEMONSTRATED ALMOST DAILY
[info_box] ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
The information for this article was taken from many sources, both American and Mexican media. Perhpas most importantly, the murder occurred less than 1/8 of a mile from my house. I heard the shots, but wasn’t aware what had happened until the story led on the morning news the next day.
I visited the scene of the murder. I stood on the riverbank where Guillermo Arévalo Pedroza died with his daughter in his arms. I picked up a small rock and chunked it across the river. With a strong arm, I was able to put it into the water less than halfway across the Rio Grande. The agents were never in any danger at any time. This is a case of pure cold blooded murder and those responsible must be identified, indicted, arrested, convicted and imprisoned for this crime.[/info_box]
[info_box] STORY SOURCES
As stated, I used sources too numerous to mention here. Therefore, I am going to rely heavily on the services of an excellent website that aggregates information of this type, FEDCOPS.ORG
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.