El Paso residents fear mannequin hanging on noose Cartel Related?!?
Border residents fear message on mysterious billboards
EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso police are investigating two mysterious billboards that appeared just off I-10, each with a mannequin hanging from a noose. .
“It’s not an advertisement,” said Mike Mons, regional manager for Lamar Outdoor advertising.
The first vandalized billboard off I-10 had Plata o Plomo in large black letters which translates into silver or lead. It is usually a warning targeting police or government officials in Mexico. The warning: work with a cartel and take a bribe or get a bullet.
The hanging mannequin was dressed in a suit and tie.
“This symbol has historically been used by Mexican drug cartels to threaten or intimidate Mexican citizens, business owners and government officials; however, we have never experienced this in El Paso,” said police in a statement released to media.
“Maybe the problems in Juarez are coming over here,” said Javier Padilla, an El Paso resident.
“Oh, that’s horrible,” said Maria Ramos, his wife looking at a photograph of a stuffed hanging mannequin.
Two of her relatives were murdered across the border in Ciudad Juarez in 2009. Real bodies have been found hanging from overpasses in that Mexican city.
The mannequins hanging from nooses mimic real drug violence in Mexico and the images in El Paso spread quickly on social media.
“It’s a little terrifying. You wish it didn’t happen to your home town,” said Adriana Padilla, 23, an El Paso resident.
During their morning commute motorists spotted a second billboard off I-10 with a hanging mannequin dressed in jeans.
“Dying for drugs” was painted on an existing DEA billboard that offered a $5 million reward capture of drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.
Vandals cut through a chain link fence and climbed about 30 feet to reach the billboard’s ladder and then had to climb even higher to write the message and hang the mannequin.
Investigators suspect it might be the work of an activist group questioning the war on drugs. Similar hanging mannequins were placed on billboards in Las Vegas in 2012 with the messages “Dying for work” and “I hope you’re happy Wall Street.”
But along the border where hanging bodies are calling cards for violent drug cartels in Mexico, the disturbing images worry El Paso residents.
“I‘m hoping it’s just a bunch of kids vandalizing. If it is, I hope they catch them,” said de Avila.