La Plaza

News from Latin America and the Caribbean

« Previous Post | La Plaza Home | Next Post »

Morelia suspect tells of holding grenade

September 28, 2008 | 10:52 am


Slumped at an interrogation table, a gang member accused of participating in an attack that killed eight people at a Mexican Independence Day celebration described calmly how he was eager to get rid of the grenade he tossed into a crowded plaza, reports Tracy Wilkinson.

"I was hiding it in my hands and it made me shudder," Juan Carlos Castro Galeana told his interrogator. "I was desperate to get rid of it."

Castro added that he thought the attack, which he said he was ordered to carry out, was meant to "provoke" the government. He appears in a video posted Saturday on the website of El Universal newspaper. The video was obtained from the attorney general's office, the newspaper said.

Castro is one of three men arrested by Mexican authorities as suspects in the Sept. 15 assault during a revered national celebration in Morelia, the hometown of President Felipe Calderon. It was the first major deliberate attack on civilians since Calderon launched a crackdown on drug gangs nearly two years ago.

Federal prosecutors said Castro and two other men, Julio Cesar Mondragon Mendoza and Alfredo Rosas Elicea, confessed to the grenade attack.

Click here for more of this dispatch and here for our special coverage of the drug wars in Mexico, Mexico Under Siege.

To watch one of the grenade victims tell his story, go here.

— Deborah Bonello

Image: Officials inspect the bomb scene in Morelia's central plaza earlier this month. Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times.