Mexico: The Rising


May 16, 2015: The military is reacting to attacks by the Jalisco New Generation cartel on Mexican security forces as if the cartel were waging a guerrilla war against the government.  The military has good reason for this attitude because the cartels have started attacking, rather than avoiding troops. The cartels now regard the military as another faction in the ongoing wars cartels wage with each other for control of territory.

Jalisco New Generation has been fighting the Knights Templar and Los Zetas cartels for control of Jalisco and Michoacan states. The three cartels also face off in Veracruz state (eastern Mexico).  But beginning in March, New Generation cartel gunmen started attacking government security forces. The tactics were not all that different form previous firefights, but the operational tempo increased. Moreover, the level of operational coordination began to look, well, more war like. In March cartel gunmen ambushed and killed 15 policemen. Last month media started wondering if New Generation had declared war on the government. The latest headline attack was the May 1 downing of an army helicopter.  The helicopter was participating in a new operation in Jalisco state (Operation Jalisco). Six soldiers died when the chopper crashed. Gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at the helicopter.  Guerrilla armies have utilized this technique. Mexican and American law enforcement officers say the cartels have acquired RPGs launchers and other military-type weapons on the black market, usually through Central America. Media speculated that the helicopter went down near a New Generation headquarters. That could be. Operation Jalisco’s stated goal is to capture Jalisco New Generation gang members. A key target would be New Generation senior commander Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes.  The helicopter downing drew headlines but the deeper story is the operational coordination. The cartel launched several calculated attacks throughout Jalisco state on security forces. The attacks demonstrated that New Generation can deploy several hundred gunmen. One security official characterized the operation as a “coordinated show of strength.”

Officials also attributed crimes and violence in Jalisco and three other states to the New Generation cartel.  These incidents (May 1 and May 2) ranged from throwing up roadblocks to hinder civilians, seizing and setting vehicles on fire and committing arson against property. The arson attacks included setting fire to five gas stations and 11 banks.  Security officials reported the cartel set up 39 roadblocks in Jalisco state. It takes a lot of gunmen to man roadblocks. Which leads back to the media worry over war against the state. Several hundred gunmen could transform into a battalion, perhaps two. It’s happened before. The question is intent. New Generation still puts a lot of effort into infiltrating political institutions (usually by bribing politicians and police). In fact, some Mexican crime experts are impressed with the cartel’s ability to corrupt institutions in the states in which it operates and rate it as superior to that of other cartels. At the moment it looks like money and gold neck chains are still the objective, not political power. (Austin Bay)

May 14, 2015: So far this month three candidates in the June 7th local elections have been murdered. All the victims appear to be local reformers (often involved with self-defense groups) seen as a threat to local drug cartels. The victims represent a growing popular action against corruption and gangsters (especially the cartels). A lot of Mexicans have been hurt by the violence, which since 2009 has killed nearly 40,000 and caused nearly two million people to flee their homes.

May 13, 2015: Mexican authorities in Tamalupias state claimed police and security forces rescued 57 migrants (mainly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala) who had had been kidnapped by an organized criminal group. No specific gang was named. Most of the migrants were.

May 11, 2015: Three gunmen posing as relatives of a detainee entered a Mexico City police station, opened fire on police and fled with the prisoner. Police killed one of the gunmen outside the station. Shortly thereafter police arrested the prisoner and a second gunmen. The third gunmen evaded arrest.   Police had originally arrested the prisoner on charges of illegally possessing an assault rifle. In a separate incident Mexico City police discovered three dismembered bodies in sacks aboard a train. The train came to Mexico City via Colima and Michoacan states. Mexico City police pointed out that the New Generation cartel operates in both states.

May 8, 205: Gunmen in Cuidad Juarez attempted to kill the city’s former chief of police, Julian Leyzola Perez, who had also served as police chief in Tijuana. He survived the attack but suffered serious wounds. Police arrested the two men who shot him and were identified as belonging to an unnamed drug cartel.  Leyzola Perez is a highly regarded retired Mexican Army officer who ran tough and honest police operations in both cities (Tijuana from 2008 to 2010, Juarez from 2011 to 2013).

May 7, 2015: Security officials announced the arrest of Francisco Salgado, the former deputy chief of police in Iguala (Guererro state). Salgado conspired with Iguala’s mayor, Jose Luis Abarca and Abarca’s wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda (Senora Macbeth), to “disappear” 43 protesting student teachers in September 2014. He was arrested in captured in the Cuernavaca.

Police in Mexico state freed over 100 Central American migrants being held captive by gangsters. Most of the migrants came from Central American countries. However, there were also 23 migrants from India and five from Sri Lanka.  All of the migrants were trying to reach the U.S. Police subsequently arrested five gang members on kidnapping and human trafficking charges.

May 2, 2015: Security forces in Jalisco state spent the day battling New Generation cartel gunmen who had stopped traffic in the city of Guadalajara. The cartel men had seized buses and set up roadblocks elsewhere in the state. The official count was 39 roadblocks in 25 different municipalities.  Former members of the Milenio cartel formed the Jalisco New Generation cartel in 2009. At one time the cartel called itself Mata Zetas (Kill Zetas).

May 1, 2015: Jalisco New Generation cartel gunmen downed a Mexican Army helicopter. The helicopter was flying cover for a security convoy operating in Jalisco state in an area 250 kilometers southwest of the capital. Three soldiers died and 12 were injured when the helicopter crashed. Three of the injured died from their injuries.

April 22, 2015: Mexico's legislature passed a new anti-corruption law favored by president Pena because his administration continues to suffer from scandalitis. These accusations (two involving him and his wife) have undermined his efforts to reform Mexico’s economy.

April 21, 2015: Deputies in Hidalgo County (Texas) killed a suspected drug cartel operative near the town of Mission. The deputies were attempting to arrest the man when he fired on them.

April 20, 2015: Security officials confirmed that the government is continuing to investigate allegations that security forces used excessive force in confrontations with local defense militias in January 2015. The most serious allegations involve the Federal Police (Federales).

April 19, 2015: The Mexican military (branch not specified) arrested Jesus Aguayo, a senior commander in the Juarez cartel.  Aguayo was involved in a 2010 car bombing that killed a doctor, a paramedic and two policemen.

April 17, 2015: A series of firefights broke out in Reynosa (Tamaulipas state) after Mexican marines and federal police arrested Hugo Rodriguez Sanchez, a senior commander in the Gulf cartel. Reynosa is across the border from McAllen, Texas.  Two state policemen were wounded in the firefights and three cartel gunmen were killed.



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