MCALLEN, Texas – A Mexican news outlet unknowingly debunked a story that was circulated in U.S. news claiming that a former Mexican cop turned immigration advocate was killed by cartel gunmen, after his request for asylum was denied, and he was deported. Mexican media claim that he was the one who began the shootout that killed him.
Constantino Morales Roque, 42, had been an immigration advocate in Iowa, where the fought to get political asylum and pushed for an immigration reform. According to an Associated Press story published by the Des Moines Register, his deportation last year was his undoing; the story claims cartel gunmen had executed him, and makes it seem as if the immigration system was to blame.
The Iowa publication then interviewed Morales’ brother Leonardo, who talked about how the family tried to keep him in the U.S. for his safety, because cartel members in Mexico had it out for him since he had been a cop there.
“I was threatened with death… they said they would never forget who I was,” the Des Moines Register quoted written testimony from Constantino Morales Roque. “I only want an opportunity. I did not come here to do anything evil. I just want to live more time.”
The touching story appears to have been debunked by a Mexican radio station from the Mexican state of Guerrero, which was reporting a shootout at a baptism when it unknowingly showed that Morales Roque may not have been an innocent victim after all.
Both the Des Moines Register and Mexican media point out that Morales Roque carried a handgun, which is illegal in Mexico. That country has one of the strictest set of gun laws in the world, creating a legal environment where the famous 9mm round is only used by the Mexican military and police.
In their article “Balacera En Huehuetán Deja A Tres Personas Muertas; Convivían Entre Sí” (Shootout in Huehuetán kills three; they had been partying), Radio La Lider 88.9 reported on a drunken shootout at a baptism party that resulted in three gunmen dying.
“When the three deceased individuals got in heated argument where alcohol was involved which led to them drawing weapons which left three individuals dead,” the article stated in Spanish.
The shootout took place on Easter Sunday at around 9 p.m., at a house near Huehuetán’s downtown where a family was celebrating a baptism, the article claimed.
Morales Roque arrived at the party and spent several minutes talking to 57-year-old Ruperto Javier Marin and 62-year-old Juan Javier Marin, all residents of the same town of Huehuetán .
According to the publication, after talking for a while, Morales Roque then confronted the Javier Marin brothers over an apparent attack suffered by one of his relatives, who had been shot at local a pool hall.
The article claims that Morales Roque then shot the two brothers, who fought back and seriously injured him before dying. A nephew of the Javier Marin family rushed to avenge their uncles, shooting Roque numerous times and mortally wounding him, before fleeing the scene.
According to the Mexican article, Roque was shot 11 times with 9mm bullets. One of the shots hit him in the chest, 5 in his right side, three in the right arm, and two in his left arm. Ruperto Javier Marin was shot 6 times throughout his body, while Juan was killed with two gunshots.