Tainted Evidence: Mexico’s Surprising Answer to Crime-Lab Corruption

Except for a single wooden crucifix hanging from a nail, the crime lab’s morgue looks antiseptic, with stark white walls and silver-railed beds. I’ve been there for less than an hour when the medical examiner wheels in a body encased in wet garbage bags. With help, he hoists the mass onto a stainless steel body tray, and immediately, the crew goes to work, cutting the plastic away, one layer at a time, the way a child carefully pries the wrapping paper from a birthday present. It appears the victim, a late-20s male, was beaten, suffocated and then dumped in a canal. The cartels call these corpses regalos, or gifts.

A handful of plain-clothed investigators hover while the forensics workers dutifully collect evidence: snapping pictures, snipping hair samples, swiping under fingernails. The lead detective voices her displeasure that I’m here, but the guys in the lab coats just smile. She can stomp her feet all she wants, but this forensics lab, in Guadalajara, isn’t police turf. The son of God peers down from above; the badge has no jurisdiction here.


I am doubtful that even the best laid plans for law & order reform in Mexico will ever have a lasting effect.

The subject of tainted forensic evidence is one that fascinates me and Canada is not immune to such scandals.

  • Mexico is fast becoming a failed State. Civilians are having to organize everything themselves because government can’t be trusted. On the security level civilians have organized local vigilante groups to protect themselves from the Cartels.

    “Cartel Land” is a 2015 documentary on civilian vigilantes (from both sides of the Rio Grande):


    • dance…dancetotheradio

      This is what happens when government gets too centralized.
      In Canada, there used to be a time when service clubs would get together and say to themselves hey we need a park for our kids to play in and then they would make one.

    • Thanks!

      • bob e

        looks good, hope i can get it on me deus X machina ..

  • V10_Rob

    Respect for the law is the key, that’s what keeps the system working. Too many, particularly governments and their bureaucracies, think that teaching (telling) people to obey the law is how this is achieved. Others mistake fear for respect; that works until the agents of the state look away.

    People need to believe that the law is worthy of respect, that it is evenly applied and that playing by the rules is rewarded and exemplified.

    So what do we see? Special rules for flavour of the month classes or races, or double standards. Law enforcement officers and politicians above the law. Small business operators choked with red tape while corporate donors get exemptions. People that try to just live their life harassed by official busybodies.

    And then they demand you RESPECT the law?

    • Maggat

      Respect has to be earned. The gov’t, all it’s various arms and mutations have never earned my respect. Some individuals within the vast mess have, but very few.