These are the shocking scenes purportedly showing the assassination of a Mexican Federal Judge who was dealing with the case of notorious drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
Judge Vincente Bermudez Zacarias was shot in the head at point blank range while jogging near his home in Metepec, a town located about 43 miles from Mexico City, according to news agencies.
The judge was on the bench during appeals by Guzman, who is serving time in prison for his role as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, as well as Miguel Trevino, the former leader of the Zetas cartel.
The shooting prompted the Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, to hold a news conference and vowing an investigation by his attorney general.
According to local media, Bermudez was shot in the head at point-blank range and succumbed to his wound while being taken to a hospital. The judge was exercising outside when he was killed, according to the newspaper Reforma.
Bermudez became a district court judge in December 2013 and served in the Fifth Tribunal for appeals and civil judgments in the State of Mexico when he was killed.
The court has handled cases related to organized crime, but the motive of his murder was not immediately known.
‘I have given instruction to the attorney general to take up this case, undertake the corresponding investigations and find those responsible for this terrible event,’ Pena Nieto said during an international meeting of judges that was scheduled before the murder.
Before the start of a public hearing, Supreme Court president Luis Maria Aguilar Morales urged the authorities to ensure the safety of judges.
“Federal judges are people who dedicate their lives, their personal, moral and physical integrity to serve federal justice in our country,” Aguilar said. “They require security and peace conditions that guarantee their independence because in an atmosphere of peace and security, judges can reflect on their decisions,’ he said, before holding a minute of silence.
El Chapo was transferred to Ciudad Juarez back in May, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, from the Altiplano jail near Mexico City that he broke out of twice before. While no official reason was given for the move, it is believed to be in order to make it easier to deport him when the time comes.
Mexico has already cleared the way for Guzman’s deportation, the appeals process could mean it takes months or even years before he is finally moved.
Mexican authorities have given up on the idea of holding Guzman permanently on their side of the border – where the death penalty has been abolished – after he broke out of jail twice.
The head of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel bribed his way out of jail once in 2001, and then used more bribes and an extensive tunnel dug by his henchmen to break out a second time.
He was first arrested in Guatemala back in 1993 and brought back to Mexico where he was locked up in the Puente Grande in Jalisco. He was later indicted on drug charges in California and was awaiting extradition to the US when he bribed virtually every official inside the jail in order to bust out in 2001.
El Chapo was let out of his jail cell and slipped into a laundry basket before being wheeled out of the front doors of the jail and into a waiting car. Dozens of people, from guards to maintenance workers and even the prison director were eventually implicated in the escape.
After a lengthy manhunt he was recaptured in 2014 in a hotel in the beach town of Mazatlán and sent back to jail, this time at Altiplano. He spent just a year in that jail however, breaking out for a second time in 2015 after members of his cartel dug a mile-long tunnel which came up under his cell shower block.
With guards paid to turn the other way, El Chapo escaped by crawling through the bottom of his shower and into the tunnel, where he used a motorbike affixed to a rail to drive to a nearby building site, where the underground passage emerged.
Guzman did not remain on the run for long the second time, however, and after several near-misses he was tracked to a safe house in the town of Los Mochis earlier this year.