The federal judge overseeing the extradition case involving Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was shot and killed Monday in broad daylight just outside his home in Mexico.
A report from the Mexico Daily News indicates that 37-year-old Vicente Antonio Bermúdez Zacarías was shot in the head at close range while he was exercising in front of his house on the outskirts of Mexico City. He was pronounced dead before an emergency unit was able to reach the hospital.
A video of the shooting, which was made available through security footage, shows Bermúdez jogging, seemingly unaware that a man dressed in black is following closely behind. Just as the judge jets across the street, his unknown assailant runs up, raises his right hand, and puts him down with, what appears to be, a single gunshot to the head. Bermúdez can be seen going down quickly, falling to his side, before rolling over onto his back.
In addition to El Chapo’s extradition proceedings, Bermúdez was responsible for a number of other cases involving organized crime figures, including members of the Los Cuinis gang, the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, the Guerreros Unidos and the Gulf Cartel. Bermúdez is the 11th Mexican judge to be murdered within the past four years.
Mexican officials say they plan to get to the bottom of the latest assassination.
“We have already been in contact with the competent authorities to immediately investigate this case and have it resolved,” Luis María Aguilar Morales, president of the Mexico Supreme Court, said in a statement. “Federal judges are people who devote their lives, their personal integrity, moral and physical, to administering federal justice and are required to have the security and tranquility that their independence guarantees.”
In May, Bermúdez ruled that El Chapo, who was recaptured in January after escaping prison through a well-engineered tunnel, could be extradited to the United States to answer to charges ranging from murder to drag trafficking. Although Mexican officials have not yet released a motive for the killing, we have watched enough Narcos to draw our own conclusion.