Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lawyer allegedly linked to Los Zetas land transfers executed in Quintana Roo

Law firm prepared real estate documents for powerful crime organization

Puerto Morelos, Q.R. - A Quintana Roo attorney who had worked on legal matters involving the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas was shot to death outside of his home in Puerto Morelos last night, local press sources report. Morelos is a Caribbean seaport about 20 miles south of Cancún, on Mexico's famed Riviera Maya coast.

Leonardo Agustín del Bosque López, 37, was shot four times by gunmen who were waiting for him in a luxury vehicle about 10:30 p.m., witnesses told police. His wife rushed him to a local hospital where he died a short time later. Prosecutors have opened a formal investigation.

Bosque López was a licensed notary public with a local law firm. Notary publics in Mexico are nothing like their U.S. counterparts. They are attorneys who hold the exclusive right to prepare and approve documents required in many commercial and private transactions, especially where real estate is involved. Mexican notary licenses are highly coveted. They are issued in limited numbers by the government, and once granted enable the holder to perform services that non-notaries cannot undertake. Mexican notaries generally prosper and are at the top of the legal profession.

The law firm of which Bosque López was the manager was investigated last year by Mexico's organized crime strike force, SEIDO, a division of the attorney general's office. In the case investigated by SEIDO another local lawyer with alleged Los Zetas connections was kidnapped by the group and held for ransom in 2008. To secure his release that attorney's family paid a ransom of $1.5 million pesos in cash, and the same sum in real estate. At the current exchange rate, the $3 million peso ransom was about $240,000 US.

The law firm managed by Bosque López prepared the legal documents - deeds to several properties - for the real estate conveyed to Los Zetas as part of the ransom package. The kidnapped attorney was then released.

Press sources did not indicate how the case came to SEIDO's attention. But the strike force is allegedly focused on the law firm's work for Los Zetas, who frequently kidnap and hold for ransom prosperous businessmen. Since ransoms are often paid partially by real estate conveyances, the firm carved out a niche for itself preparing the required legal documentation, sources say.

In 2002 Bosque López worked as an assistant state prosecutor in Monterrey, in the northern state of Nuevo León. Monterrey has been an epicenter of narco violence in recent years, most of it at the hands of Los Zetas.

My take: If strike force prosecutors have been actively pressuring this law firm to "name names" and identify its Zeta clients, the latter may have feared that Bosque López was about to sing. So they decided to eliminate him. The Mafia learned long ago that dead men don't tell police anything.

"Narco Notaries" - the professionalization of drug trafficking & organized crime

Yucatán - and half of Mexico - "belong" to Los Zetas, says top prosecutor:
Los Zetas behind more than half of cartel kidnappings, says government agency:
Mexico's Caribbean Riviera Maya in the hands of drug cartels and extortionists:

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