Mexico Intelligence News Summary
There were also 66 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported in September. This figure is the highest since July 2018. Of these incidents, there were seven assassinations of government or party officials. This is the highest number since June. At least 40 soldiers, marines, or police officers were killed in these attacks this month. This is the highest number since October 2021. Among those killed in September were six police officers, including the chief, who was killed during an attack in Calera, Zacatecas. Five army patrols were attacked in Chiapas, Puebla, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. This is the highest number of such attacks since April. There were no media reports of attacks directed against the Guardia Nacional this month. Nine municipal police patrols were attacked this month. This is the highest number since March 2020. These incidents occurred in Baja California, Edomex, Guanajuato, Mexico City, Nuevo Léon, and Zacatecas.
Numerous corrupt political leaders and police officers were also arrested on various charges. For example, the former mayor of Cuernavaca (Morelos) was arrested on corruption charges. State police arrested a municipal official on extortion charges in Ixtapan de la Sal, Edomex. A state police officer was charged with being a leader of a local kidnapping gang in Guadalajara, Jalisco. A former chief of police was charged with kidnapping in José Sixtos Verduzco; Michoacán. Other corrupt officials were arrested in Oaxaca and Querétaro.
At least 45 street battles were reported during September. This figure was lower than August's but higher than the monthly average for 2022. These battles occurred in 17 states. Several of these battles resulted in the death of numerous sicarios.
At least 48 people were killed in attacks on civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, small businesses, shopping areas, repair shops, funerals, and other locations. This is the second-highest number of attacks since August 2019; only exceeded by August 2022. There were 24 such attacks this month. These incidents occurred in 11 states.
In addition to attacks on public venues, hundreds of people were kidnapped and murdered, with their bodies strewn across the Mexican landscape. The mass deposits of 228 victims’ bodies were found at 79 different sites across 17 states.
There were eight fatal extortion-related incidents reported during September, resulting in 11 fatalities. This figure is similar to the previous three months.
Mexican authorities reported the disruption of three kidnapping operations this month. The figure is similar to the previous six months. These operations were located in Michoacán, Sonora, and Tabasco. There were also several cases in which authorities were able to rescue kidnap victims.
As is the case every month, there were numerous reports of robberies of both businesses and individuals in public thoroughfares. Cargo hijacking remains prevalent in Edomex, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, and Veracruz. However, authorities disbanded a truck hijacking gang in Santiago Tianguisteco, Edomex. Numerous large and small retail stores were robbed across Mexico.
There were several widely-reported security failures in Mexico this month. There was an increase in attacks on governmental authorities and major street battles during August. Attacks on civilians in public venues such as bars and restaurants, as well as extortion-related fatalities, also increased this month.
Territorial conflicts between rival criminal organizations caused significant disruption in several regions of the country. Numerous battles, narcobloqueos, and burned businesses occurred in Jalisco and adjacent areas of Guanajuato. The media reported that regional cartel leaders Roberto Ruiz Velazco “El Doble R” and Gerardo González Ramírez “El Apá” of the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) were able to escape in the chaos. During the conflict, sicarios (cartel gunmen) set fire to at least 29 businesses (including 24 Oxxo stores) in Guanajuato. Fourteen vehicles and several businesses were destroyed by arson in Guadalajara. A few days later, another series of battles and narcobloqueos occurred in several northern cities of Baja California (Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali, Rosarito, Tecate). Authorities were able to capture Luis Enrique N. “El Ñoño," a key operative, during the operation. Elsewhere, the arrest of José Bernabé Brizuela “La Vaca," a key leader of the Cártel Independiente de Colima, triggered a series of battles, narcobloqueos, and kidnap-executions in Colima. Later in the month, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí were the locations of at least seven major battles and narcobloqueos.
There were 49 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported in August. This figure is the highest since May. Among these incidents, there were six assassinations of government or party officials. This month, 22 soldiers, marines, and police officers were killed in various attacks. Among these was a chief of police who was gunned down in Irimbo, Michoacán. A deputy chief of police was gunned down in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Another deputy chief was killed in Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato.
In continued attacks on the media, four employees of a radio station were killed by sicarios in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. A journalist with a local news outlet Tú Voz was killed by gunmen at a bar in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato. Two operators of a Facebook page called Tijuana 664 were executed inside a home in Tijuana, Baja California. They had routinely published information about violent incidents in the city. A journalist was kidnapped and murdered in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora. A journalist was killed in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. He had recently reported about political corruption in the region. He was the 15th journalist killed thus far in 2022. According to Reporters Without Borders, Mexico ranks first among the most dangerous countries for journalists.
Mexican federal authorities reported the capture of eight regional leaders of the major cartels during August. This is the highest number since April 2018.
Numerous corrupt political leaders and police officers were also arrested on various charges. For example, a former deputy chief of the police was charged with homicide in Xalapa, Veracruz. A municipal police officer was charged with homicide in Huazantlán del Río, Oaxaca. The media also reported that the husband of a municipal official (Celaya, Guanajuato) is the leader of an extortion band that operates in that city.
At least 48 major street battles were reported during August. This figure is the highest number since April. In one incident, at least 13 sicarios were killed in a battle in San Luis Potosí. A fragmentation grenade was used during a battle in Colima, Colima.
There were numerous reports of criminals targeting travelers. In one incident, assailants pulled a driver from his vehicle and killed him as he traveled along a highway north of Monterrey, Nuevo León. Two people were intercepted and killed while driving along a highway near Rafael Delgado, Veracruz. Three people were intercepted and killed along a highway near Acatlán, Puebla. Gunmen fired on a vehicle near Santiago Juxtlahuaca (Oaxaca), killing one person and injuring seven others.
The number of felony homicides has not yet been reported for August; however, the figure will likely closely match those of the last several months. In other words, it will likely be near 2250 for the month. There were at least 38 attacks on civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, shopping areas, markets, repair shops, a gym, and several funerals. This was the highest number of attacks since April 2019. These incidents resulted in 76 fatalities, the highest number of fatalities since August 2019. Perhaps, the most notable incident occurred when seven people were killed, and four were injured during an attack on bar patrons in Colima, Colima.
Analysis of several measures across many areas of Mexico this month indicates a continued deterioration of public safety. While the number of attacks on governmental authorities was steady this month, there was a slight increase in assassinations of public officials. These incidents appear to be related to the current election cycle. Attacks on public venues and the prevalence of other violence, as well as extortion-related attacks this month, continue to be elevated.
There were several noteworthy news events this month. In one case, on June 20 sicarios (cartel gunmen) entered a church and murdered two Jesuit priests in Cerocahui, Chihuahua. The victims were active in supporting the rights of indigenous communities in the Sierra Tarahumara. Following the incident, their bodies were then removed from the church by the gunmen but were recovered later. This particular area has been the site of intense conflict between the Sinaloa Cartel and La Línea (the leading faction of the Juárez Cartel). There were numerous rolling battles reported this month. In one incident, the vehicles of at least ten bystanders were struck by gunfire during a prolonged battle between the army and the Cártel del Noreste (CDN) in northwest Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. There are also reports that the soldiers shot and killed three sicarios after they had surrendered. As a result, nearby residents threw stones and other objects at the soldiers, who returned indirect fire.
Also of significant interest is that Alejandro Moreno, the national leader of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), announced that PRI will propose a reform to the Federal Weapons Law to make it easier for individuals to have access to certain firearms to defend themselves from insecurity in their communities. He argued that despite the fact that the primary concern of Mexicans is insecurity, the Morena government does not have any serious security plan. Finally, he stated that “in the absence of a State that takes care of Mexicans, let the criminals know that the people are going to defend themselves.”
There were at least 46 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during June. This figure is a slight drop from May but still above most months of 2021. However, the number of assassinations of government and party officials was relatively high. There were seven such incidents reported this month.
Twenty-six soldiers, marines, or police officers were killed in attacks this month. Among these was the municipal chief of police, who was gunned down outside his home in Villa de Álvarez, Colima. Two officials with the Fiscalía General del Estado de Guerrero (FGE) were gunned down in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. One of the victims had been involved with the investigation of the disappearance of the 43 normalistas (students) in Ayotzinapa in 2014.
Four military patrols were attacked in Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Just one patrol of the Guardia Nacional was reportedly attacked this month. The incident occurred in Marquelia, Guerrero. Six state police patrols were attacked across Jalisco, Nuevo Léon, Sonora, and Tamaulipas (3 incidents). Four municipal police patrols were attacked in Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Veracruz (2 incidents).
Numerous corrupt political leaders and police officers were also arrested on various charges. For example, a former federal deputy was arrested for hiring a sicario to kill his ex-wife in Puebla during May. He was also a former gubernatorial candidate (PRI party). A delegate of the Instituto Catastral del Estado de Oaxaca (ICEO) was charged for the murder of a medic in Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca. The former mayor of Choix, Sinaloa was arrested while attempting to smuggle a large quantity of cash through a security checkpoint in Sinaloa. The municipal chief of police was forced to resign following allegations that he had direct ties with the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) in Ameca, Jalisco.
At least 36 street battles were reported during June. This figure is slightly lower than May but similar to most months of late 2021 and 2022. These battles occurred in 12 states (Chiapas, Chihuahua, Edomex, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). In one incident, ten sicarios were killed during a battle with authorities in El Salto, Jalisco.
Data published by the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) indicates that there were 2432 felony homicides reported during May. The number of felony homicides has not yet been reported for June. However, estimates provided by the media suggest it will be the highest number for any month in 2022. So far this year, the highest number of felony homicides have occurred in Guanajuato (ranked 1st), Michoacán (2nd), Edomex (3rd), Baja California (4th), Jalisco (5th), and (Sonora (6th).
There were numerous attacks on civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, shopping areas, markets, and repair shops. There were 14 such incidents in June, resulting in 24 fatalities. The number of distinct incidents was lower than in May. However, the number of fatalities is on par with most months of 2021. These attacks occurred across 11 states (Chihuahua, Edomex, Guerrero, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Veracruz, and Zacatecas).
Media reports indicate that at least 194 bodies were left in groups across 70 sites during June. These collections of victims’ bodies are usually the result of kidnap-execution by rival cartels. Both of these figures are higher than the previous month. Overall, these mass deposits were located across 19 states.
There were eight fatal extortion-related incidents reported during June, resulting in 17 fatalities. This figure matches the previous month but is higher than the average for 2021. These incidents occurred in Guanajuato (2 incidents), Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca (3 incidents), and Puebla. The victims included the owners or employees of small stores, restaurants, bars, and production/distribution companies.
Mexican authorities reported the disruption of one kidnapping operation this month in Veracruz. The figure is similar to the previous 15 months. There were also several cases in which authorities were able to rescue kidnap victims.
Trucks transporting commercial cargo and fuel continue to be targeted by organized crime groups. There are no official figures for June yet, but the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP) reports that there were more than 3100 robberies of travelers or transport across Mexico during May, and 22% of these occurred on commercial cargo vehicles. Also, 63% of these robberies involved violence. The final numbers for June will likely be similar.
Most public safety measures indicate that the levels of insecurity during May remain elevated compared to most of the previous 12 months. For example, attacks on governmental authorities remained relatively high this month, although the frequency of reported battles declined somewhat. The number of attacks on civilians in public venues, as well as the number of fatalities in these attacks both, increased this month. Also, the number of fatal extortion-related attacks increased in May, as did the number of fatalities. This corresponds with an increase in the total number of extortion cases reported to authorities since early 2022. Finally, while armed robbery is prevalent across most areas of the country, the trend has been steady since mid-2020.
There were 49 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during the month of May. The number of incidents is lower than in April but still the second-highest since October 2021. Of these attacks, there were six assassinations of current or former political leaders. Additionally, at least 29 police officers or military personnel were killed this month, a figure that is similar to the previous four months. There were also several assaults on fixed targets. In one case, assailants attacked a state police station in Tijuana, Baja California. No injuries were reported, but the assailants set fire to three patrol vehicles.
Several law enforcement or government officials were arrested or charged for a variety of crimes. In one case, a mayor was detained for the homicide of the municipal chief of police in Acatlán de Osorio, Puebla. Twenty-four municipal police officers were also arrested for the chief's assassination in April. Indeed, the media reported that at least 40 municipal police officers had been arrested for various crimes thus far in 2022 in several municipalities of Puebla. Two state government officials were arrested on money laundering charges in Puebla.
During May, there were 37 battles between authorities and sicarios or rival criminal organizations. This number was lower than the previous two months. These incidents occurred across 17 states, the highest since March 2021.
According to the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP), the number of felony homicides reported during April was 2146. The data for May is not yet available, but it will likely come out near the previous two months, which is higher than the early months of 2022. However, preliminary data in Chihuahua indicates that May was the most violent month thus far in 2022. Similar reports have come out of Puebla. Across Mexico, many of the victims were those who had been kidnapped and murdered. Authorities encountered the remains of 169 victims in groups during May. These discoveries were located at 61 sites across 15 states. The number of such victims was the lowest since October 2021 but remained elevated nonetheless.
Over the last few months, there has been a slight increase in fatalities associated with attacks on public venues. This month 57 people were killed in 23 separate attacks across 11 states (Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, and Veracruz). The number of incidents was similar to the early months of 2022, but the number of victims was considerably higher than the monthly average for 2021. These incidents occurred in several bars, restaurants, funeral services, and other public events.
There were 11 extortion-related incidents that produced fatalities this month, resulting in 17 fatalities. The number of incidents is the highest since October 2021, and the number of fatalities has been the highest since June 2021. These incidents occurred in seven states; Chihuahua, Colima, Edomex (2 incidents), Guanajuato, Oaxaca (2 incidents), Puebla (2 incidents), and Veracruz (2 incidents).
Mexican authorities reported the disruption of two kidnapping rings this month, a figure that is slightly lower than the previous several months, but it is still on par with the monthly average for 2021. These groups were operating in Chihuahua and Puebla. Kidnap victims were also rescued in several additional incidents.
There were numerous instances of armed robbery across the country this month. Trucks transporting cargo were robbed in several states. In one incident, DJI México reported that one of their trucks transporting 300 drones was hijacked. Organized criminal groups have utilized drones for surveillance during battles, and these stolen devices may be intended for the same purpose.
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