Homicides in Mexico increased in 2016. In the first two months of 2017 that trend continues, particularly in Baja California, Chihuahua, and Sinaloa states (all near the U.S. border). States with seaports on the Pacific Ocean have also seen substantial increases. Overall, January 2017 saw 1,938 murders which was 34 percent more than the 1,442 in January 2016. Officials attribute January’s increase to drug cartel violence related to the arrest and extradition of Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Joaquin Guzman. Cartels are fighting for control of the business and smuggling routes. Some cartel members, particularly in the Sinaloa Cartel, see an opportunity to increase their own personal power. The cartel has been riven by factional fighting, but the fighting has become more frequent and more intense.
February 27, 2017: Guerrero state security officials said they believe eight people have been kidnapped by a drug gang. Six of the people are bull riders (jaripeo). There has been at least one ransom demand. Jaripeo is a style of bull riding popular in Central and Southern Mexico and events attract large crowds and lots of cash for the winning riders.
February 26, 2017: The U.S. extradited another murder suspect from Mexico. This suspect was involved in a 2008 murder in Arizona. The suspect fled to Mexico and Oaxaca State police arrested him in May 2015.
February 22, 2017: Canada and Mexico said that renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) requires agreement by all three nations. NAFTA is a “three-country agreement.” The U.S. disagrees.
February 18, 2017: A former government senior security official recently estimated that every year narcotics trafficking cartels smuggle $64 billion worth of drugs into the United States. An outrageous figure? Maybe, maybe not. The estimate range usually runs from $55 billion to $70 billion.
February 17, 2017: In the north (Tamaulipas State, near the Texas border) soldiers and marines killed at least 13 cartel gunmen in a series of firefights in and around the city of Reynosa. Authorities believe the gunmen work for the Gulf Cartel.
February 16, 2017: Mexico continues to buy more U.S.-produced natural gas. Over the first six weeks of 2017 pipelines have shipped 4.2 billion cubic feet per day to Mexico. That’s up 45 percent from 2015 when it was 2.9 billion cubic feet per day. New pipeline capacity has been built and more is being built. By 2020, U.S. and Mexican companies estimate Mexico will purchase up to 7 billion cubic feet per day. Mexico is building new electricity generation facilities that burn natural gas rather than oil or coal.
February 15, 2017: In the north (Tamaulipas State, near the Texas border) a death squad identified as La Barredora murdered at least four people and burned their bodies in a farm area. Investigators believe the group works for a new faction of Los Zetas cartel. Several Zetas factions are fighting a turf war for control of Ciudad Victoria, which is on the Texas border.
February 13, 2017: Mexican corn importers and members of the legislature are threatening to boycott U.S. corn producers. The U.S. is the world’s largest corn producer and Mexico is one of the world’s biggest markets for corn. A Mexican senator said he intends to file a bill that requires the country to buy corn from Argentina and Brazil. He said his bill is a response to “threats” to Mexico by the new U.S. government. In 2015 Mexico bought $2.4 billion worth of U.S> corn.
February 11, 2017: Marines confirmed they killed Juan Francisco Patron Sanchez, a senior commander in the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) drug cartel during a February 9 raid in Nayarit State, on the Pacific coast. Seven other suspected cartel members also died. The marines were supported by a helicopter gunship armed with a minigun. Cell phone video of the helicopter attacking the suspects is showing up on the internet. Marines employed the helicopter because gunmen fired at them with 12.7mm (.50 caliber) sniper rifles. The BLO was an ally of the Sinaloa Cartel, but the alliance ended in 2008 when Alfredo Beltran Leyva was arrested. At the time he was the BLO’s most senior leader,
February 10, 2017: In the north (Nuevo Leon State bordering Texas) police state arrested Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez. Cano is wanted in the U.S. on money-laundering charges. In fact, he is wanted on nine counts of money-laundering. However, several hours after his arrest, federal authorities (Attorney Generals Office in Mexico City) released Cano because the police did not have an arrest warrant.
February 9, 2017: Military leaders continue to talk with media about the Defense Minister’s December 2016 statement that the military should not be the lead agency in the Cartel War. The accusation was that the military is not designed to do police work. The chatter continues because many officers are worried that drug cartels are trying to corrupt the military forces.
February 8, 2017: On the west coast (Sinaloa state) a marine and five cartel gunmen died in a firefight that began when a marine patrol encountered a group of men wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles.
February 4, 2017: The government reported that the number of homicides increased 22 percent in 2016 (from 17,034 during 2015 to 20,789).
February 2, 2017: There is anecdotal evidence that Central American migrants are deciding to remain in Mexico rather than attempt to enter the U.S. Thus there was an increase in asylum requests during January by Central Americans. Most Central American migrants into Mexico comes from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala
February 1, 2017: The government denied reports that the U.S. government threatened to send U.S. soldiers to Mexico. A senior presidential spokesman said “The things that have been said are nonsense and a downright lie." He was responding to a report that the new U.S. president had told his Mexican counterpart that he would send American soldiers to Mexico to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military controls them.