The Weekly | A Mexican Police Chief’s Handshake Deal With a Sicario


Producer/Director Alexandra Garcia

The bodies were piling up and Alberto Capella, then the police chief in the Mexican state of Morelos, was desperate. So he turned to a man intimately familiar with the drug violence plaguing his region of south-central Mexico — a ruthless sicario, an assassin who, authorities said, killed more than 20 people.

For years the homicide rate in Mexico has been climbing to alarming highs, and endemic corruption has made it nearly impossible to do much to stop it. So Capella struck deals with some of the men he’d arrested who were willing to testify against their drug cartel bosses. In exchange, he offered the informants protection and a chance to escape a life of brutality, potentially without facing any charges.

It was a gentleman’s agreement with men trained in violence. Capella tells “The Weekly” he wrestled with his decision to offer a lifeline to men who showed no regard for human life, but his informants helped him arrest and convict dozens of cartel operatives.

Capella’s star witness had his own motivation. “I don’t want to spend my whole life in prison,” the sicario said.

Watch how these men on either side of a bloody war tearing Mexico apart came to rely on each other for their futures.

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Senior Story Editors Dan Barry, Liz O. Baylen, and Liz Day
Director of Photography Victor Tadashi Suarez
Video Editor Pierre Takal
Supervising Producer Gemma Jordan
Associate Producers Lora Moftah and Valerie Schenkman
Additional Editing Geoff O’Brien

Source : Nytimes