Mexico Intelligence News Summary


Mexico Intelligence News Summary

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Data for April indicates a further deterioration in public safety across many areas of the country. Each of the key measures showed an increase this month, including the number of attacks directed against governmental authorities, major street battles, attacks on civilians in public venues, and reported victims of other violence. From a regional standpoint, there appears to be a notable surge in criminal activity in Colima, Morelos, Oaxaca, Sonora, and Zacatecas, while conditions have improved somewhat in Guerrero and Tamaulipas. Elevated levels of crime have maintained in Baja California, Chihuahua, Michoacán, Puebla, Sinaloa, and Veracruz.

 

The media reported 59 attacks directed against governmental entities during April. This figure is the highest since November 2019.

Five of the attacks reported during April involved the assassination of politicians and party leaders. Five military patrols were attacked in Baja California, Jalisco (2 incidents), Sonora, and Zacatecas. Thirteen state police patrols were attacked this month across Chihuahua, Jalisco, Michoacán, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, and Zacatecas. Furthermore, at least 34 police officers or military personnel were killed this month. This is the highest number of fatalities since April 2021.

 

The media reported 57 battles between rival criminal groups or with authorities during April. This figure is the highest since July 2021. These incidents occurred in 16 states (Chiapas, Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). The number of states impacted was the highest since March 2021.

 

Highway robberies and armed assaults continue to plague several states including Colima, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas. Robberies and assaults were also reported on passenger buses this month. Numerous incidents were reported in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz.

 

According to monthly crime data published by the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB), there were 2186 felony homicides reported during March. This is the highest number since October 2021. Furthermore, media reports indicate that the bodies of at least 286 victims were discovered at 104 different locations across 21 states. The number of victims is the highest since June 2020 and about 147% higher than the average of the last twelve months. The number of states impacted was the highest since July 2021, while the number of distinct sites was the highest since February 2019.

 

There was an increase in the number of attacks on civilians in public venues such as bars, restaurants, shopping areas, and public events this month. Eighteen attacks were reported across ten states, resulting in 43 fatalities. The number of fatalities is the highest since October 2021. These incidents occurred in Chihuahua, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Sinaloa, Veracruz, and Zacatecas.

 

Businesses and individuals continue to be subjected to extortion demands, and in many cases, these result in fatalities. Official data from SEGOB indicates an increase in reported cases since the beginning of the year. The media also reported that there were six fatal extortion-related incidents during April, resulting in six fatalities. Undoubtedly more such incidents occurred but were not picked up by the media. Of those reported, these occurred in Oaxaca (2 incidents) and Veracruz (4 incidents). The number of incidents is the highest since January 2022. The victims included owners and employees of several restaurants, bars, and shopkeepers.

 

The official number of reported robberies is not yet available for April. However, data from the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) indicates that robberies increased 112% between February and March.

 

Bank customers continue to be robbed with high frequency in or near banks in Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz.

 

End

There was an apparent improvement in several measures of public safety this month when compared to most months of 2021. There was a reduction in attacks on governmental authorities, major battles, attacks on public venues, and other indices of homicide and violence. However, the number of fatal extortion attacks did not diminish, and reported extortion cases and robberies appear to be on a slight upswing. Furthermore, there were numerous reports of armed robberies of travelers, a pattern which is common during the holiday season.

 

There were at least 35 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during December. This figure is the lowest since July. Of significance was a slight increase in assassinations over previous months. There were six such incidents reported in December. 

 

Four army patrols were attacked in Jalisco, Tamaulipas (2 incidents), and Zacatecas. In one incident, two soldiers were killed during an attack in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

 

There were 30 street battles reported during December. This figure is the lowest since November 2020. These incidents occurred in 15 states, which matches the average for 2021. The states impacted were Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Edomex, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas. The media also reported that sicarios detonated at least one drone equipped with an improvised explosive device (Air-borne IED) during a battle with the Guardia Nacional in Michoacán.

 

Overland travel in many rural areas of Mexico should be considered hazardous. There are continued reports of kidnappings of travelers along Highway 85/85D between Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas) and Monterrey (Nuevo Léon). Numerous incidents occurred along this route in early December and again during the last week of the month. There were also several reports of robberies along Highway 150/150D between Mexico City and Puebla. The Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) also reported an increase in highway robberies in Jalisco compared to the previous year.

 

The Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) reported 2144 felony homicides during November, which is the lowest number since February 2018 (see Figure 3). Data for December will be available later this month. Organized crime groups continue to attack people in ostensibly civilian venues such as restaurants, bars, shopping areas, funerals, and other social events. There have been more than 706 intentional attacks on the patrons of such businesses across Mexico in the last three years, resulting in the deaths of at least 1556 people. In these attacks, gunmen typically open fire with the intention of killing as many patrons as possible, sometimes using fragmentation grenades in the attacks.  

 

During December the bodies of at least 176 victims were left in mass deposits. While these bodies were located at 62 different sites, the majority were in Veracruz. In total, the sites were located across 17 states (Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). At least 24 people were decapitated or dismembered this month across six states (Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, and Veracruz). 

 

There were seven cases of fatal attacks related to extortion operations during December, resulting in 11 fatalities. The number of attacks and the number of victims are close to the average for 2021.

 

During December, authorities reported the disruption of two kidnapping operations in Puebla and Veracruz. This figure is slightly lower than the average for 2021. However, in addition to these operations, there were numerous reports of police rescues of kidnap victims.

 

While official crime data is not yet available for November, data released by the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP) showed an increase in three measures related to organized crime (i.e., felony homicide, extortion, and narcomenudeo) during October. The data also showed an increase in sexual assault and domestic violence. Furthermore, Mexican authorities have expanded law enforcement operations in a number of states. For example, due to losses in police officers, the Guardia Nacional will expand responsibility for law enforcement in Zacatecas. The Guardia Nacional will also install a base in the alcaldía Azcapotzalco of Mexico City due to the increased violence in that area.

 

There were at least 39 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during November. This figure is lower than the previous two months but higher than the average for 2020. There were four assassinations of government, and party officials reported this month.

 

Twenty-eight police officers or military personnel were killed in attacks this month. Seven military patrols were attacked in Guerrero, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. One patrol of the Guardia Nacional was attacked in Valparaíso, Zacatecas. Seven state police patrols were attacked in Coahuila, Guanajuato, Morelos, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. These incidents resulted in two law enforcement fatalities. In another incident, the bodies of three Zacatecas police officers were found in Crisóstomos, Aguascalientes. Seven municipal police patrols were attacked in Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nuevo León, and Puebla. Seven police officers were killed in these attacks. Not surprisingly, the data from this month corresponds closely to the overall pattern of fatalities associated with different jurisdictional levels of law enforcement. Since the onset of the “drug war” in 2006, higher fatalities are typically associated with attacks on municipal and state police patrols, while fatalities for attacked federal and military patrols are considerably lower due primarily to better training and equipment (e.g., vehicle armor, more powerful arsenal, etc.).

 

Several fixed targets were also attacked this month. For example, as many as 80 sicarios (cartel gunmen) stormed the municipal palaces in Ahualulco and Mexquitic de Carmona, San Luis Potosí. They damaged the facilities, stole items, and departed. Sicarios also opened fire on the municipal palace in Tepetongo, Zacatecas. The incident occurred just hours after President López Obrador had visited the site.

 

There were several cases in which corrupt government officials were arrested on various charges. For example, five members of the Guardia Nacional and a former member were arrested on kidnapping and extortion charges in Cozumel, Quintana Roo. Five municipal police officers were arrested for homicide and armed robbery in Guadalajara, Jalisco. A recently elected municipal official was arrested on homicide charges related to the murder of a local reporter in Ixtaczoquitlán, Veracruz. A municipal police commander was charged with torture and robbery in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. State police arrested three municipal police officers for murdering their female coworker in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí. Municipal police officers killed three agents of the Fiscalía de Puebla in Tecamachalco. Reports indicate the state officials ignored a demand to inspect their vehicle. In response to the incident, the chief of police and 12 municipal officers were detained, and the mayor turned control of the municipality over to state authorities.

 

The media reported 19 attacks on civilians in public venues during November. This figure is lower than October but matches the average for 2021 overall. Thirty people were killed in such incidents this month. This figure is a bit lower than the average for the year. These incidents occurred across nine states (Baja California, Edomex, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, and Veracruz).

 

There were at least eight fatal extortion-related attacks reported by the media during November, resulting in eight fatalities. Both these figures are on par with most months of 2020 and 2021. These incidents occurred across Chihuahua (3 incidents), Guanajuato, and Veracruz (4 incidents). The media reported the disruption of one kidnapping operation in Veracruz during November. However, in other cases, police were able to rescue various individuals.

 

As always, there are numerous reports of robberies across most areas of the country. In some cases, these incidents involve cargo theft. Municipal police also recovered a Liverpool truck that had been hijacked in Puebla. Three accused hijackers were also detained. Municipal police recovered a stolen trailer in San Martín Texmelucan, Puebla.

Several measures suggest a deterioration of security across numerous areas of the country, while other measures display a more steady pattern. There was a rise in attacks on governmental authorities, especially in the number of police fatalities. In contrast, the frequency of battles declined somewhat. Mexican authorities reported a significant number of weapons and munitions seizures this month, as well as the arrest of several key cartel leaders. Attacks on public venues rose slightly, while confirmed fatal attacks related to extortion remained steady. Finally, there was an apparent increase in robberies.

 

There were 49 attacks directed against governmental authorities during October. This is the highest number since June. Of these, there were several assassinations of administrative officials or party/union leaders; four fatalities of officials were reported. At least 47 police or military personnel were killed in these attacks during October. This is the highest number since June 2020.

 

Six military patrols were attacked this month in Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas. In contrast to what normally occurs, soldiers were killed during three of these attacks. Two soldiers were killed in an attack in Taninhuan, Jalisco. The media did not report attacks on patrols of the Guardia Nacional this month. However, five state police patrols were attacked across Edomex, Morelos, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, and Veracruz. Two of these resulted in police fatalities. Two state police officers were injured during an ambush in Mexquitic de Carmona, San Luis Potosi. Five municipal patrols were also attacked. These incidents occurred in Edomex, Guanajuato, Michoacán, and Oaxaca. Police fatalities occurred in three of these incidents. There were also several attacks directed at fixed targets. For example, three state police officers were killed in an attack on a police base in Tlalpujahua, Michoacán. There were also more than 22 additional attacks on law enforcement personnel while on break or off-duty.

 

Mexican authorities reported the capture of five regional leaders of the major criminal organizations during October. This figure is the highest since May. Also, one regional leader was killed by government forces and another was killed by rivals. Corrupt government officials were also arrested this month on charges relating to organized crime, kidnapping, and robbery.

 

There were 34 battles between sicarios and governmental authorities or between rival cartels this month. This figure represents a decline from the previous four months. These battles occurred in 14 states (Chiapas, Chihuahua, Edomex, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). The number of states impacted matches most months in 2021.

 

As we continue to report each month, overland travel in many rural areas of Mexico should be considered hazardous. Indeed, it is important to evaluate travel options and determine if overland travel can be avoided when traveling between cities in most areas of the country. There were numerous reports of attacks and/or robberies occurring on highways this month.

 

Recent data published by the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) reveals that, thus far, there have been 21,453 felony homicides from January through September this year. This is a slight decrease from the same period in 2020. Official figures concerning the total number of homicide victims of organized crime is not yet available for October. However, preliminary assessments suggest the month will be similar to the last several months.

 

There were 22 attacks directed at civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, shopping areas, markets, and a repair shop.  At least 44 people were reported killed during these incidents. Both of these figures are higher than the last few months, with fatalities the highest since July 2020. These incidents occurred across 8 states (Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Michoacán, Morelos, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). In addition to these attacks, several hundred people were kidnapped and murdered this month. At least 157 bodies were found in mass deposits at 56 sites across 16 states. The number of victims is similar to the monthly average for 2021. These mass deposits were located in Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas).

 

A surge in cartel violence between Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación y el Cártel de Sinaloa has caused a significant migration of residents out of the Altos Norte de Jalisco region. Similar attacks on homes occurred in San Rafael Tlanalapan and Tlachichuca (Puebla).  Sicarios also threatened residents in a small rural community of Madera, Chihuahua. The Guardia Nacional has been brought in to provide security to several small communities in Atatlahuaca, Oaxaca.

 

There were 11 fatal extortion-related attacks this month, resulting in 13 fatalities. This number is similar to previous months. These incidents occurred in Chihuahua (2 incidents), Guanajuato, Oaxaca (2 incidents), Quintana Roo, and Veracruz (4 incidents). This was the highest number of fatalities since June. The businesses include small stores, a bar, small repair shops, and eateries.

 

The Fiscalía General de Justicia del Estado de México (FGJEM) reported that 12 major kidnapping operations had been disrupted in Edomex so far in 2021. The media also reported that two kidnapping operations were disrupted by authorities during October; in Veracruz. This figure is similar to most months in 2021.

 

The number of reported highway robberies dropped slightly from August to September (SEGOB). In contrast, robberies on public transport increased slightly from 71% in August to 73% during September. The data for each of these crimes is not yet available from the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) for October. However, there were numerous reports of robberies by the media during October. Numerous businesses were reported robbed across multiple states. These include Bodega Aurrera, pharmacies, lending institutions, and pawn shops.

Summary
Public safety conditions during September closely matched those of the previous few months. The number of attacks against authorities was similar to the previous five months. As was the number of battles reported. There was, however, a decline in the number of kidnapping incidents reported by the media this month. There were at least 45 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during September. This figure is higher than the previous month but close to the monthly average for 2021. There were five assassinations of elected or party officials reported this month.

There were at least 45 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during September. This figure is higher than the previous month but close to the monthly average for 2021. There were five assassinations of elected or party officials reported this month. There were also several incidents in which assailants either attempted to assassinate political leaders or they otherwise attempted to intimidate them. For example, unknown individuals set fire to the mayor's vehicle in front of his home in San Pablo Ayutla, Oaxaca. Also, a former mayor was kidnapped in Tepatlaxco, Veracruz.

Attacks against authorities occurred across 17 states, and this figure is similar to most months of 2020. The states impacted this month were Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Edomex, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas.

Mexican federal authorities reported the arrest of four regional leaders or key operatives of the major criminal organizations during September. This figure is similar to the monthly average of the last few years.

Federal authorities also arrested numerous government or law enforcement officials on corruption charges or for association with organized criminal groups. In one case, the Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) arrested eight former federal police officers for the massacre of 42 people in Tanhuato (Michoacán) in 2015. Three state police officers were charged with drug trafficking in Rafael Delgado, Veracruz.

There were 46 street battles reported during September. This figure is similar to most months of 2021. These incidents occurred in 15 states (Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Edomex, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas).

As we continue to report each month, overland travel in many rural areas of Mexico should be considered hazardous. There continue to be reports of armed highway robberies and attacks in Oaxaca, Puebla, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.

Official figures concerning the total number of homicide victims of organized crime is not yet available for September. However, preliminary assessments suggest the month will be similar to the last several months. Also, at least 41 people were killed in attacks on civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, small businesses, and shopping areas. This represents a slight decline from previous months. There were 16 such attacks this month across Baja California, Chihuahua, Edomex, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Zacatecas.

The mass deposits of 223 victims’ bodies were found at 76 different sites across 22 states. This was the highest number of states since April 2020.

The Comité de Protección de Periodistas (CPJ) reported that Mexico is in third place behind Iraq and Syria in the number of journalists killed. The attacks are clearly related to their reporting on criminal activity or corrupt government officials (37% of the victims covered drug trafficking, 32% covered political topics, and 23% covered general crime). Continuing the trend in September, a broadcaster with Radio Fórmula was found murdered in Mérida, Yucatán. Also, a reporter with the Portal Morelos was intercepted and killed by assailants on a motorcycle in Cuernavaca, Morelos.

Data from the Cámara de Comercio, Servicios y Turismo de la Capital (Canaco CDMX) indicates that at least 8.1% of the businesses in Mexico City are currently paying extortion demands. Figures exceeding 12% are reported in the alcaldías of Benito Juárez, Coyoacán, and Cuauhtémoc of the city. Furthermore, business leaders reported that 26.1% of the cases involved what appeared to be a lone extortionist, while 22.5% appeared to be part of a group, and 5.2% were actually authorities such as police officers.

During September, authorities reported the disruption of two kidnapping operations. This figure represents a decline from previous months. These operations were located in Chihuahua and Tabasco. In the first case, five kidnappers were arrested in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

 

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