MEXICO CITY – A video allegedly shows the new mayor of Teloloapan, a town in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, cutting a deal with the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel to keep the peace in the town as long as it remains under the control of the criminal organization.
The video, which was posted on YouTube and received coverage in the Mexican press, shows Mayor Ignacio de Jesus Valladares Salgado, who was sworn in on Sept. 29 for a three-year term, agreeing to not interfere with his go-betweens, who apparently are members of a Mexican drug cartel.
“The reason you are here is because we want to keep the peace in the town of Teloloapan and that’s all in your hands,” a person off camera says during the nearly six-minute video.
The mayor, who is shown sitting sideways and appears worried, listens as the individual standing nearby asks him “to agree to put in a (police) director like we agreed.”
Valladares Salgado agrees to appoint a police chief who is “neutral, who is dedicated to working” for the people.
A second person whose face is also not visible asks the mayor who he is making the agreement with and tells him it is with La Familia Michoacana, information that Valladares Salgado appears to be aware of and finds acceptable.
“The reason for this is that we want there to be peace in Teloloapan,” one of the men tells the mayor, who responds “yes, sir.”
“As long as you don’t get mixed up with another (criminal) group, we are going to have it under control,” the man tells the mayor.
Valladares Salgado says he wants to stay “on the margins of everything,” adding that his “big interest is having a festival of peace” and not getting involved “with anyone” during his term in office.
The mayor tells the men that he “loves life” and the lives of his “loved ones.”
The presumed cartel members warn the mayor that “Teloloapan is going to burn” if the police interfere with them.
Efe tried to contact Teloloapan city hall on Tuesday, but several telephone calls went unanswered.
Valladares Salgado, meanwhile, told the Milenio newspaper that he was intercepted near his house by a group on Sept. 14 and taken by force to “the jungle.”
The mayor said the conversation was recorded with a cell phone and it never occurred to him that it would be made public.
Valladares Salgado told the newspaper that he was cooperating with the prosecutors assigned to the case.
I am willing to leave “office for 15 days, a month, the time that is necessary,” the mayor said.
Valladares Salgado said he “feared” for his loved ones, but he said he was willing to remain in office despite having his hands “tied” in doing his work in the town since no one was willing to serve as police chief.
Valladares Salgado is a member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, the party of Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre Rivero.
Mexico’s more than 2,400 municipalities and their police forces are some of the institutions most weakened by organized crime groups.
Municipalities have limited resources available for fighting criminal organizations and public corruption, security experts say. EFE