Mexican rights agency: marines executed 4 men near pipeline

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission said Thursday that marines illegally detained, beat and executed four people who were doing farm work near a government fuel pipeline.

The governmental commission said the killings took place in February 2019, in an area just east of Mexico City that is known for fuel thefts. State-owned pipelines in Mexico are plagued by thieves who frequently drill illegal taps into the ducts.

Marines and soldiers were massively deployed in 2019 to guard the pipelines. The pipelines often run through fields and look-outs for the thieves frequently pose as farm workers.

The commission said evidence indicates a marine patrol stripped and beat men who were gathering forage, then took them to a remote area and killed them. Their bodies were found days later.

The commission recommended the marines be investigated and prosecuted, and the victim's relatives be compensated.

The Navy said in a statement in 2019 that the marines had found the men stealing fuel, but acknowledged the marines appear to have “acted against legal procedures” and “committed acts that violated their duty.” The navy said at the time that the marines involved had been made available to prosecutors.

The Navy said Thursday it would comply with the commission's recommendations.