A hundred years after the Mexican Revolution, General Villa still battles in Coahuila. Carlos Villa is the great-nephew of Doroteo Arango a.k.a. Pancho Villa, the most charismatic revolutionary, and to those that know the young Villa, a carbon copy of the beloved Mexican general.
Carlos Villa is the great-nephew of Doroteo Arango a.k.a. Pancho Villa, the most charismatic revolutionary, and to those that know the young Villa, a carbon copy of the beloved Mexican general.
With his foul mouth and a faithful pitbull next to him at all times, Carlos Villa combats drug trafficking in Torreón, where he is the police Chief. He is also referred to as a General since he served in the Mexican army.
The modern day Villa not only fights crime but corruption tied to drug trafficking. Several officers from his own force had been fired because of links to drug cartels.
Last March, the majority of the police force went on strike to demand General Villa keep his job. The mayor had to choose between firing the bulk of the police force thus leaving the city in the hands of drug lords, or to get rid of Villa and keep corrupted officials in the streets. He chose firing everyone.
“It was the best decision I’ve made in my life” said Mayor Eduardo Olmos to the Wall Street Journal. “Is not like our policemen weren’t fighting criminals; they were the criminals!” he added.
For Villa and the mayor, one of the main problems is the policemen salaries, who are easily drawn into corruption for a few more pesos than what the officials can offer. To counter that, they were given raises, and offered them scholarships for their children. Nonetheless, the great-nephew of Pancho Villa can’t find peace, as he knows he might be betrayed at any minute. Two of his bodyguards disappeared in the months following the strike, and another one was kidnapped, tortured and executed. His head was found in front of the police headquarters.
The General now counts with a police force of 60 ex-soldiers, not one is from Torreón. All of them live in the police barracks, and go into town only when doing their rounds. Villa lives in a room next to his office; he has a mattress, an exercise machine, and Chata, his faithful pitbull.
The General has forbidden the use of cell-phones amongst officers, for the means corrupt cops use to inform Los Zetas of their operations. Villa encourages locals to report crime to his own cell-phone.