Mexico Intelligence News Summary


Mexico Intelligence News Summary

Despite the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, criminals have not taken a break from their illicit activities. In particular, the homicide rate continues to rise. The total number of crimes has also continued a climb, a pattern that began in January (prior to COVID-19). In contrast, reported robberies and extortion have both declined slightly since February, and it remains unclear if it is the result of the pandemic.

 

There were 45 attacks directed against governmental authorities were reported during April. This figure is a significant drop from March but is similar to the average of the previous nine months. There were five assassination attacks resulting in six fatalities. There were also several non-fatal attacks on elected officials and union leaders. At least 23 police officers or military personnel were killed in attacks this month. Six army or marine patrols were attacked across Guanajuato, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas (4 incidents). Two federal police or Guardia Nacional patrols were attacked in Tamaulipas. In one incident, a member of the Guardia Nacional was killed during an ambush while on patrol in Terrones Benitez, Tamaulipas. Five state police patrols were attacked in Baja California, Michoacán, Nuevo Léon, and Tamaulipas (2 incidents). Four state police officers were injured during an ambush in Ario de Rosales, Michoacán. Three municipal police patrols were attacked in Guanajuato and Tamaulipas. There were 18 additional attacks on authorities across 13 states. 

 

Attacks against governmental authorities occurred across 16 states (Baja California, Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). The majority of these incidents occurred in Tamaulipas. 

 

Authorities reported the capture of three regional leaders of major criminal organizations during April. This number is slightly higher than in the previous few months. Authorities reported the seizure of medium-sized weapons caches at seven sites across Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Sonora, and Tamaulipas (2 locations). Eleven rifles, 17 fragmentation grenades, and 3100 rounds of ammunition were seized in El Naranjo, Michoacán. Twenty-two rifles, 2600 rounds of ammunition, and three pieces of body armor were seized in Sonoyta, Sonora. Twelve firearms, including a belt-felt machine gun, were seized in La Carbonera, Tamaulipas. The army seized a homemade armored truck (typically called “monstruos”) in El Aguaje, Michoacán. Also, a radio communication network used by a cartel was dismantled by state and federal authorities in San Lucas, Michoacán.

 

The media reported 38 battles during April. This number is lower than March, but still on par with most months of 2019. These incidents occurred across 11 states (Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). The number of states impacted is the lowest since August 2019. Some of these battles were large and involved numerous sicarios (cartel gunmen). 

 

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The Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) has already reported that there were 2585 felony homicides during March. This is the highest of any month since record-keeping began in 1997.  There was also a high number of attacks on governmental authorities and major street battles this month as well. Despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the security situation in Mexico continues to spiral out of control.

 

There were at least 59 attacks directed against governmental authorities reported during March. This figure is the highest since July 2018. There were five assassinations of public officials or political party activists reported this month. There were also several incidents in which assailants either attempted to assassinate political leaders, or they fired on their residences or vehicles. 

 

At least 41 soldiers, marines, or police officers were killed in attacks this month. Among the victims was the municipal chief of police who was ambushed and killed in San Juan Evangelista, Veracruz. He had replaced the previous chief who was killed last year. The deputy chief of police was murdered in Ensenada, Baja California. A deputy municipal police commander and his bodyguard were gunned down in Celaya, Guanajuato. Four army patrols were attacked this month. These incidents occurred in Sinaloa (2 incidents), Sonora, and Veracruz. Interestingly, there were no attacks against military patrols in Tamaulipas this month. Seven federal police patrols were attacked in Guerrero, Nuevo Léon, Puebla, Queretaro, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Five state police patrols were attacked in Guanajuato, Michoacán, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. In a departure from previous months, nine municipal police patrols were reported attacked this month. These incidents occurred in Edomex, Guerrero, Morelos, Nuevo Léon, Sinaloa, Veracruz, and Zacatecas. 

 

There were also several attacks on fixed targets. In one case, a vehicle-borne IED was detonated next to a Guardia Nacional base in Celaya, Guanajuato. There were also 19 additional fatal attacks on authorities across nine states. Attacks against authorities occurred across 20 states. This is the highest number of states since May 2018. The states impacted this month were Baja California, Chihuahua, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas.

 

Mexican federal authorities reported the arrest of five regional leaders or key operatives of the major criminal organizations during March. This number is slightly larger than the average for 2019. 

 

Authorities reported the seizure of weapons and munitions caches at three separate locations across Coahuila, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Also, a Barrett 50-caliber sniper rifle was seized following a battle in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Two belt-fed machine guns were seized following a battle in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Interestingly, a rare Armas Trejo Model 3 Pistol was seized following a shooting incident in Veracruz. This pistol, produced in Puebla during the 1950s-1970s, is the smallest fully-automatic pistol ever made, capable of emptying the entire magazine in less than half a second. An impressive weapon in the hands of a low-level criminal.

 

There were 50 street battles reported during March. This figure is the largest since March 2019. These incidents occurred in 17 states (Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). The number of states impacted was the highest since January 2019. Seven sicarios (cartel gunmen) were killed during a battle with authorities in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco.

 

Overland travel in many rural areas of Mexico should be considered hazardous. There continue to be reports of armed highway robberies in Tamaulipas and Veracruz. 

 

As previously mentioned, official homicide data indicates that March was the highest on record. Among the victims this month were the 38 people who were killed in attacks on civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, small businesses, shopping areas, and a bus terminal. The number of fatalities represents a slight decline from previous months. There were 18 such attacks this month across Chihuahua, Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico City, Puebla, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. 

 

The mass deposits of 183 victims’ bodies were found at 69 different sites across 19 states (Chihuahua, Colima, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). 

 

There were eight cases of fatal attacks related to extortion operations during March, resulting in nine fatalities. This figure is on par with the previous six months. These incidents occurred in Guerrero, Jalisco (2 incidents), Mexico City, Puebla (2 incidents), Quintana Roo, and Veracruz. 

 

During March, authorities reported the disruption of two kidnapping operations. This figure represents a decline from previous months. These operations were located in Puebla and Veracruz. In addition to these operations, there were numerous reports of police rescues of kidnap victims.

 

There were multiple robberies of numerous large stores (e.g., Bodega Aurrerá, Coppel, Elektra, Soriana, etc.) in Edomex, Nuevo Léon, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.  

 

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Executive Summary

Security Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Date of Report: May 12, 2020

 

Overview

The general consensus is that COVID-19 arrived in Mexico by late February, although the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) reported two cases of patients with COVID-19 symptoms in Nayarit and Tabasco in mid-January. Therefore, the assumed period of any potential impact on public safety in Mexico is late February. There is contradictory evidence concerning the impact of COVID-19 on criminal activities in Mexico. Some figures, such as the total number of robberies, indicate a decline since the onset of the pandemic. The number of reported extortions also declined in March, but the change may reflect a more significant scale cyclical pattern in this crime. Other measures, such as the total number of crimes and homicides, have increased throughout the period impacted by COVID-19. It is important to note that these upwards trends had begun prior to COVID-19. Researchers have suggested that recent increases in violence are the result of partial closures of the U.S.-Mexico border and subsequent limitations on drug trafficking, possibly leading these organizations to expand revenue generation in other areas. The problem facing traffickers is exacerbated by the fact that the Wuhan area of China was a major source of chemical precursors used to manufacture synthetic drugs. 

 

The major criminal organizations such as the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), La Familia Michoacana, the Gulf Cartel, and the Sinaloa Cartel have also been fairly active in providing care packages of essential food and household items to residents within the territories they control. These "narco benefactor" activities have also occurred in contested territories likely in an attempt to gain support from the local population. Also, supposedly in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, several cartels have imposed curfews within their territories.

 

What Does Government Crime Data Show?

This section assesses trends in selected crime data provided by the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB). Data for April is not yet available. The total number of reported crimes nation-wide increased through the first three quarters of 2019, with a slight decline during the last quarter. Since December, that figure has crept back upward. The figure for December was 154,734 reported crimes, rising to 165,720 in January, to 167,558 in February, and 168,826 in March. It is apparent that the upward trend in total reported crimes began prior to the impacts of COVID-19 in Mexico.

 

With regard to the total number of robberies, this figure had generally declined slightly from a peak in January 2019. With regard to the trend in 2020, the figure has further declined from 61,178 in January to 57,502 in February and to 55,748 in March. Therefore, there is no clear correlation between COVID-19 and the trend of these two measures. In other words, the total number of reported crimes was already on the rise by January 2020. Indeed, the most significant jump was between December 2019 and January rather than between January and March. Likewise, the downward trend of reported robberies began in January 2019, and accelerated in November and December, further dropping in February and March. That said, there exists the possibility that lower robbery rates are a function of fewer people in public settings and businesses being closed, thereby reducing opportunities for these particular crimes.

 

With regard to the number of reported extortions, these have increased since 2017, and more significantly between December 2018 and February 2019. Then the number remained relatively steady until the last quarter of 2019 when it began to decline. Then the number increased from December until February. The figure for March is slightly lower than the previous two months. It is important to note that the variability in the number of reported extortions from month to month is considerably larger than any change occurring since COVID-19 arrived in Mexico.

 

Additional perspective is obtained by looking at data about total homicides and felony homicides. These figures showed a slight decline from June 2019 until February 2020. Both measures grew during March to the highest levels on record. It is difficult to determine if the increases in homicide rates are the direct result of social and economic changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While correlation does not mean causation, the figures suggest a link.

 

Forecast

We expect the overall levels of violence to remain elevated over the next few months as the major criminal groups attempt to extend their influence over rival territories. It is important to note that these groups depend heavily on street drug sales within Mexico. Each major criminal organization also controls territory in order to facilitate other criminal operations such as extortion, kidnapping, cargo theft, and armed robbery. In a sense, the number of square kilometers a particular organization controls relates directly to how many residents and businesses from which they can extract revenue. Therefore, not only do they need to violently "protect" these revenue-producing territories, they are motivated to expand into those controlled by "weaker" organizations.

 

There is also a concern that as millions of Mexicans lose their incomes due to the pandemic, many of them will be driven into criminal activity for the bare necessity of survival. Furthermore, due to financial difficulties in their home life, some teenagers may be more likely to serve as sicarios (gunmen) in these criminal organizations, leading to long-term impacts on public safety across Mexico. 

 

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Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions or concerns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M E X I CO  I N T E L L I G E N C E  R E P O R T

 

FEBRUARY 2020

 

HX HARARY SECURITY CONSULTING MEXICO

 

SECURITY SERVICES - CRIMINAL CRISIS RESPONSE - INTELLIGENCE

 

Overview

Organized crime, as well as street crime, has continued to increase in many areas of the country. Of particular concern is the surge in violence directed at the most vulnerable members of society, such as women, children, and the elderly. Criminals increasingly recognize the systemic weaknesses of the justice system, and they operate with relative impunity. Furthermore, the president's comments with regard to the Un Día sin Mujeres en México protest demonstrates how unprepared his administration is when it comes to improving public safety. It was apparent that the president has no specific response to the epidemic of femicides plaguing the country.  

 

Attacks against Governmental Authority 

There were at least 45 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during February. This figure is a slight drop from January, but still on par with most months of 2019. However, the number of assassinations of government and party officials was relatively high. There were nine such incidents reported this month. Among the victims was Erik Juárez Blanquet, a former member of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies who was gunned down in Morelia, Michoacán. A former PAN party federal deputy was assassinated in the alcaldía Tlalpan of Mexico City. A former mayor who was a PRI party leader was gunned down in San Miguel Soyaltepec, Oaxaca. A municipal official was assassinated in Acayucan, Veracruz. A municipal official was assassinated in Gutierrez Zamora, Veracruz. A former mayor was murdered in Soconusco, Veracruz. A former municipal official was murdered in Cotaxtla, Veracruz. A former municipal official was assassinated in Misantla, Veracruz.

 

There were also several incidents in which assailants either attempted to assassinate political leaders, or fire on their residences or vehicles, or they were temporarily kidnapped. For example, a municipal official was injured by assailants in Cortazar, Guanajuato. An individual attempted to assassinate a leader of the Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM) in Las Choapas, Veracruz.

 

At least 18 soldiers, marines, or police officers were killed in attacks this month. This figure is the lowest since August 2019. Among the victims was the municipal chief of the transit police, who was executed in Acapulco, Guerrero. 

 

Two military patrols were attacked in Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. Three federal police patrols were attacked in Guanajuato, Nuevo León, and Tabasco. Nine state police patrols were attacked this month. These incidents occurred in Chihuahua, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Four state police officers were killed during an attack in Córdoba, Veracruz. Municipal police patrols were attacked in Chihuahua and Veracruz. 

 

There were also several attacks on fixed targets. For example, sicarios (cartel gunmen) fired at police officers guarding the governor's residence in Chihuahua, Chihuahua. Two officers were injured in the incident. Shots were fired at a hotel housing state police in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. A marine was injured when gunmen fired shots at the Secretaría de Marina building in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Gunmen fired on a police base in Huatusco, Veracruz.

 

There were also 14 additional fatal attacks on authorities across eight states. For example, two officials with the Fiscalía General de la República were gunned down in Cuernavaca, Morelos. An officer with the Fiscalía de Justicia was gunned down in Celaya, Guanajuato. Sicarios fired on two officials with the Fiscalía del Estado in Zapopan, Jalisco. The director of a prison was injured by gunmen at a convenience store in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. A municipal police officer was executed inside her home in Guaymas, Sonora. Assailants dressed as clowns kidnapped a police officer from his home in Jacona, Michoacán.

 

Attacks on journalists and the media continued this month as well. In one case, a journalist was kidnapped and subsequently rescued in Cuernavaca, Morelos. A radio announcer was gunned down in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

 

Geographic Pattern of Attacks

Attacks on authorities occurred across 15 states (Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). This was the smallest number of states impacted since October 2019. 

 

Progress?

Mexican federal authorities reported the arrest of three regional leaders or key operatives of the major criminal organizations during February. This figure is similar to most months of 2019. Yelenni N. “La Catrina”, a regional leader of the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), was arrested in Las Choapas, Veracruz. Michael N. “El Ingeniero”, another regional leader of the CJNG, was arrested in Veracruz. Luis Felipe Barragán Ayala “El Vocho”, the leader of Los Viagras, was apprehended near Uruapan, Michoacán. Also, Héctor Gastélum López “El Indio”, a regional leader of sicarios in the Sinaloa Cartel was killed in a battle with authorities in Salvador Alvarado, Sinaloa. 

 

Several regional leaders were killed by rivals. David Jonathan N. “El Tarzán”, a regional leader of the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), was killed in Ixtapaluca, Edomex. Jesús Hernández “El Patotas”, a regional leader of the Gulf Cartel, was gunned down by rivals in Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas.

 

Federal authorities also arrested numerous government officials on corruption charges or for association with organized criminal groups. For example, state police apprehended several heavily-armed gunmen in San Juan Evangelista, Veracruz. One of the suspects was a former mayoral candidate. Three marines were arrested while dining at a Vips restaurant with members of the Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima in Guanajuato. Four municipal police officers were charged with kidnapping in Paso del Macho, Veracruz. An assistant to a senator was detained in possession of various dosages of cocaine in a vehicle in the alcaldía de Cuauhtémoc of Mexico City.

 

Authorities reported the seizure of weapons and munitions caches at five separate locations across Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico City, and Tamaulipas. Rifles, a fragmentation grenade, tactical equipment, and vehicles were seized from the Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima in Guanajuato. Authorities seized numerous firearms and body armor while inspecting a vehicle with two young women in Apaseo el Alto, Guanajuato. A woman was arrested while in possession of two dozen rifles, 40 handguns, 4700 rounds of ammunition, hundreds of rifle magazines, and ten fragmentation grenades in the alcaldía Gustavo A. Madero of Mexico City. Also, an M60 belt-fed machine gun was seized following a battle in Jalostotitlán, Jalisco. A grenade was also discovered on a field in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

 

Street Battles (Enfrentamientos)

There were 32 street battles reported during February. This figure is lower than in most months of 2019. These incidents occurred in 11 states (Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). There was an uptick on frequency in Michoacán when compared to the last several years. Bystanders continue to be injured or killed during these incidents. In one case, a boy was injured by stray gunfire in Cancún, Quintana Roo. Also, in an apparent case of mistaken identity, soldiers killed an engineer in Río Bravo, Tamaulipas.

 

Narcobloqueos (Illegal Street Blockades)

• February 19 - Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua

• February 26 - Culiacán, Sinaloa

 

Hazardous Overland Travel

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 attacks along highways in several states. A woman was killed when shots were fired into her vehicle in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Two children were killed when gunmen fired into a vehicle in Cocula, Guerrero. Several family members were injured when shots were fired into their vehicle in Zamora, Michoacán.

 

Bus passengers continue to be targeted by armed robbers. For example, assailants on three motorcycles intercepted and robbed passengers on a bus as it was leaving Veracruz, Veracruz. Gunmen robbed a woman on another bus in Veracruz, Veracruz. Two women jumped from a moving bus in an effort to avoid armed robbers as the bus traveled between Mexico City and Pachuca, Hidalgo. One of the women was killed.

 

Violence

Official figures concerning the total number of homicide victims of organized crime are not yet available for February. However, preliminary assessments suggest the month will be similar to the last several months. Also, during January, Guanajuato reported the most homicides of any Mexican state, and the number in January is the highest on record. 

 

At least 40 people were killed in attacks on civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, small businesses, shopping areas, a video game parlor, and public events. Both the number of public venue incidents and the number of fatalities are higher when compared to the previous three months. There were 17 such attacks this month across ten states (Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Quintana Roo, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). Most of the attacks were in Guanajuato. Elsewhere, two people were killed, and nine were injured during an attack on a bar in Cuernavaca, Morelos. Three people were killed, and 16 were injured in an attack on a bar in Tonalá, Jalisco.

 

In addition, mass deposits of 307 victims’ bodies were found at 81 different sites across 21 states (Aguascalientes, Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). The number of victims was the highest since April 2019. The number of states was also higher than the monthly average for 2019. Also, twenty-five bodies were pulled from mass graves in Moroleón, Guanajuato. Twenty-four bodies were found in Coeneo, Michoacán. Twelve bodies were found at a site in Tecomán, Colima. 

 

Also, at least 28 of the victims this month had been decapitated or dismembered. These incidents occurred in 12 states (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). 

 

Women and children continue to be targeted by organized crime groups. This month at least 73 women were killed across 19 states. Most of the victims were in Veracruz. In one case, a 17-year-old girl was gunned down in Cosoleacaque, Veracruz. An activist with the Hijas de Nuestra Maquilera Madre was kidnapped and murdered in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. A woman was gunned down in front of her home in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. A pregnant woman was killed when shots were fired into a vehicle in Cancún, Quintana Roo. Assailants forced a woman from an Uber ride and killed her in the alcaldía Tláhuac of Mexico City. A woman waiting to pick up the body of her murdered son was gunned down by sicarios outside a hospital in the alcaldía Cuauhtémoc of Mexico City.

 

Families were also attacked in their homes. For example, gunmen killed five people at a residence in Irapuato, Guanajuato. In a similar attack, four people were killed inside a home in Playa Vicente, Veracruz. Four people were executed inside a residence in Abasolo del Valle, Veracruz. Gunmen executed a woman and her two children in a home in León, Guanajuato. Sicarios executed a 13-year-old boy because he was looking for his father in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora. Gunmen killed a man and woman in an apartment in Emiliano Zapata, Veracruz.

 

Other victims this month include a leader of the Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM), who was gunned down in Macuspana, Tabasco. The owner of a towing company and his assistant were intercepted and killed in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. An accountant was gunned down by assailants on a motorcycle in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas. A rancher and his wife were murdered in Chontalpa, Veracruz. A medic was intercepted and killed in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas. The body of a Bimbo-Barcel employee was discovered in Cancún, Quintana Roo. The bodies of three college students and that of the Uber driver who had transported them to a party were found in Huejotzingo, Veracruz.

 

Gunmen kidnapped five people from several residences and set fire to vehicles in Irapuato, Guanajuato. Sicarios killed three people and set fire to a home in Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua. More than one hundred gunmen terrorized residents in the small communities of Potrero and Ocuaro in Huetamo, Michoacán. 

 

Taxi drivers were also targeted by organized criminal groups. This month six drivers were killed in Edomex and Veracruz (4 killed). Also, gunmen boarded a bus and shot the driver in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. The driver was able to drive to a nearby hospital for assistance.

 

Selected Vigilante Incidents

• February 2 - residents detained and beat a member of the Guardia Nacional accused of assaulting two individuals in Teotitlán, Oaxaca.

• February 9 - residents beat and detained an accused thief in Veracruz, Veracruz.

• February 11- residents protesting against insecurity burned a municipal police vehicle and injured two officers in Ciudad Isla, Veracruz.

• February 11 - residents beat an accused bus robber in Soledad de Graciano Sánchez, San Luis Potosí.

• February 17 - residents beat a dance teacher who they suspected of assaulting a female student in Tlapacoyan, Veracruz.

• February 18 - three municipal police officers were injured, and five police vehicles were stolen by angry residents in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco.

 

Extortion, Kidnapping, and Armed Robbery

 

Extortion

There were seven cases of fatal attacks related to extortion operations during February, resulting in 13 fatalities. The number of incidents is lower than the previous 12 months, while the number of fatalities was higher than average. These incidents occurred in Guanajuato, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Sinaloa, and Veracruz. The victims included owners or employees of several bars, small stores, and a tortillería.

 

In addition to these attacks, there were several acts of vandalism as well. For example, assailants set fire to two seafood restaurants in Cosamaloapan, Veracruz. Two delivery drivers for a packing house were injured by gunmen in Zamora, Michoacán.

 

Kidnapping

During February, authorities reported the disruption of two kidnapping operations. This figure is significantly lower than the monthly average for 2019. These operations were located in Nuevo León and Veracruz.

In addition to these operations, there were numerous reports of police rescues of kidnap victims. For example, soldiers rescued seven people in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. State police rescued an individual in the alcaldía Tlalpan of Mexico City. Three people were rescued by state police in Jaltipan, Veracruz. Also, a florist was released following a ransom payment in Minatitlan, Veracruz.

In other cases, the condition of the victim is still unknown. For example, a businessman was kidnapped from in front of his home in Río Blanco, Veracruz. The owner of a bar was kidnapped in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. A retired IMSS employee was kidnapped in Mariano Escobedo, Veracruz. An individual was kidnapped from a car wash in Nogales, Veracruz.

In some cases, the kidnap victims were killed by their captors. For example, a businessman was kidnapped and murdered in Huiloapan, Veracruz. The media reported that the kidnappers had demanded 10 million pesos. A Polish national was kidnapped and ultimately decapitated in Guadalajara, Jalisco. An individual was killed while resisting an attempted kidnapping in Mariano Escobedo, Veracruz. Two kidnappers were arrested while trying to collect a ransom payment in Vega de Alatorre, Veracruz.

Dozens of young women and girls were kidnapped in February. In one case, a woman was raped and murdered in Paso del Toro, Veracruz. A 17-year-old girl was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered in Catemaco, Veracruz. In separate incidents on the same day, two young women were kidnapped in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. The body of one of the victims was recovered a short time later, while the other woman is still missing. Another 17-year-old girl was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, tortured, and murdered in Los Cimientos, Guerrero. A woman was kidnapped and murdered in Coatepec, Veracruz. A woman was kidnapped off a major street in Coatepec, Veracruz. A woman was kidnapped from a street in Minatitlan, Veracruz. A young woman was kidnapped and murdered in Tijuana, Baja California. A woman was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in Chemuyil, Quintana Roo. A young woman was kidnapped and murdered in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. The same fate met another woman in Xalapa, Veracruz. Another woman was tortured and murdered in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Two women were kidnapped and murdered in Ecatepec, Edomex. A 5-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and murdered in Temixco, Morelos. A 7-year-old girl was kidnapped outside her school and transported to a waiting vehicle in Tlazala, Edomex. She was subsequently sexually assaulted and murdered. The man and woman who are believed to be responsible are being held by authorities.

 

Armed Robbery

There were several media reports of cargo theft this month. Also, the driver of a chicken delivery truck was injured by gunmen during an apparent highway robbery near Santiago Tuxtla, Veracruz. Two taxi drivers were robbed in the same general area. Federal police recovered a 43-foot yacht that had been stolen when a truck was hijacked near Orizaba, Veracruz. There were multiple robberies of numerous large stores (e.g., Bodega Aurrerá, Coppel, Elektra, Soriana, etc.) in Veracruz. An ATM was stolen in Veracruz.  

 

Individuals were also targeted with great frequency this month. Bank customers were robbed in at least three instances in Veracruz. A large group of gunmen robbed approximately 70 guests at an event in Ciénega de Flores, Nuevo León. Seven people were injured during the incident. Finally, in a bit of poetic justice, a gunman was shot and killed when he attempted to carjack an SUV in Río Bravo, Tamaulipas. Unbeknownst to him, the vehicle was occupied by sicarios.

 

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MEXICO INTELLIGENCE REPORT

 

HX HARARY SECURITY CONSULTING 

 

SECURITY SERVICES - CRIMINAL CRISIS RESPONSE - INTELLIGENCE

 

JANUARY 2020

 

Overview

As indicated in our recent Annual Report, the overall security situation in most areas of the country has not improved. The high rates of violence and organized crime of previous months has continued into January. Most notably, there were several high profile attacks on civilians in public venues such as bars and restaurants, plus fatal attacks on motorists, including U.S. citizens. Furthermore, there continue to be daily attacks directed at law enforcement and other governmental authorities. 

 

 

Attacks against Governmental Authority 

There were 56 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported by the media during January. This figure is higher than the monthly average for 2019. Of these, five were assassinations of public officials or political party/union leaders. For example, the mayor was intercepted and killed in Santa María Yancuitlalpan, Tlaxcala. The deputy director of the Instituto de Servicios Periciales de la Fiscalía General de Oaxaca was gunned down in a parking lot in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. Assailants dressed as medical personnel assassinated a municipal official in Bácum, Sonora. A PRI party leader was dismembered in Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí. A delegate of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores del ISSSTE (SNTISSSTE) was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in Iguala, Guerrero. 

 

 

There were also several non-fatal attacks on elected officials. For example, a former mayor was injured by gunmen near Yanga, Veracruz. A municipal official was injured by gunmen during an apparent kidnapping attempt in Huixcolotla, Puebla. An activist with the MORENA party was injured by a gunman in Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche. A municipal candidate was kidnapped in Pánuco, Veracruz. A former municipal official was kidnapped from his home in Río Blanco, Veracruz. The current status of both is not yet known.

 

 

Furthermore, at least 30 police officers or military personnel were killed in attacks this month. Also, the chief of police was injured by gunmen during an attack in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. There were also reports that gunmen attempted to kidnap the chief of police in Zaragoza, Coahuila. Police then opened fire on a vehicle that they suspected was involved. A 2-year-old girl was killed, and three people were injured during the incident.

 

 

Two military patrols were attacked in Tamaulipas. Four federal police patrols were fired on in Chihuahua, Guanajuato, and Michoacán. Two federal police officers were killed during an ambush near Ojinaga, Chihuahua. Two federal officers were killed near Aldama, Chihuahua. Three members of the Guardia Nacional were injured in an attack in León, Guanajuato.

 

 

There were 18 attacks on state police patrols. These incidents occurred in Coahuila, Edomex, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo Léon, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. A state police officer was killed during an ambush in Villa de Arriaga, San Luis Potosí. Two officers were killed in an attack in Apaseo El Grande, Guanajuato. Two women fired on a state police patrol near Noria de Ángeles, San Luis Potosí. 

 

 

Two municipal patrols were attacked in Guanajuato and Sonora. Two municipal police officers were killed during the attack on their patrol in Celaya, Guanajuato. Finally, two police vehicles were destroyed by arson at a municipal parking lot in Monclova, Coahuila.

 

 

There was also a well-publicized incident in which a small aircraft loaded with drugs from South America touched down on a highway near Bacalar, Quintana Roo. As many as 50 well-armed sicarios (cartel gunmen) fired on a military patrol that was rushing to the scene. The general in charge of the operation was injured along with two soldiers, while his driver was killed.  

 

 

Numerous other fatal attacks on authorities (mostly police) occurred across ten states. There were 17 such incidents. In one case, two officers were executed in Silao, Guanajuato. Two police officers were gunned down while eating lunch in Tijuana, Baja California. A female officer was kidnapped and murdered in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas. Officers were also murdered in Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Finally, the son of a prison director was gunned down on a street in Cárdenas, Tabasco. The brother of a former federal deputy (PRD party) was murdered in Veracruz. In addition, in ongoing attacks on media and public communication, the manager of a radio station was gunned down in Huetamo, Michoacán.

 

 

Geographic Pattern of Attacks

Attacks on governmental authorities occurred across 19 states (Baja California, Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz). Most of the attacks occurred in Tamaulipas.

 

 

Progress?

Authorities reported the capture of six regional leaders of the major criminal organizations. This is the highest number since September 2018. In one instance, Daniel Ortega “El Calavera," a regional leader of the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), was apprehended in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. Ismael Quintero, a nephew of Rafael Caro Quintero, was captured in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Authorities also apprehended Rito Quintero Hernández, a former bodyguard of Ramón Arellano Félix (former leader of the Tijuana Cartel). Quintero was captured in Tijuana. Rodolfo N. “Mostro” or “Pomo," a regional leader of the Cártel del Noreste, was apprehended in San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León. José Carmen N. “El Conchas,” or “El Pan," a regional leader of the Zetas, was apprehended in Veracruz.

  

 

In other cases, governmental personnel were arrested and/or charged for a variety of crimes. In one case, three state police officers were arrested on kidnapping charges in Veracruz. The municipal chief of police and six officers were arrested for operating with organized crime groups in Cuitzeo, Michoacán. A former head of an anti-crime task force was arrested transporting methamphetamine in Nuevo Léon.

 

 

Mexican state and federal authorities seized numerous weapons following several battles and in other operations. These seizures occurred in six locations across Coahuila, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Quintana Roo, and Tamaulipas. In one location, fragmentation grenades were seized in Celaya, Guanajuato. More than two dozen grenades were seized in Juventino Rosas, Guanajuato. Numerous rifles, ammunition, and several grenades were seized in Irapuato, Guanajuato. Fragmentation grenades and body armor were also seized in Michoacán.

 

 

There were also several high-profile prison escapes this month. Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán, a key financial operative of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel, escaped a prison in Mexico City.  In another incident, Brian Alberto Zapata López “El Beto” of the CJNG escaped prison in Cancún, Quintana Roo. 

 

 

Street Battles (Enfrentamientos)

Street battles between sicarios of rival organizations, and between Mexican authorities and cartel gunmen occurred across 13 states (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). There were 48 such battles reported by the media this month, with most occurring in Tamaulipas. 

 

 

Hazardous Overland Travel

There were several widely-published reports of violent incidents occurring on overland roads. For example, near Nueva Ciudad Guerrero (Tamaulipas), gunmen intercepted a family driving from San Luis Potosí back to Oklahoma. The assailants opened fire on the occupants, killing a 13-year-old child and injuring three others. Elsewhere, the FBI issued an alert for three Texas residents who were reported missing while visiting relatives in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Assailants ambushed and murdered ten indigenous musicians traveling to an event between Chilapa and Hueycantenango, Guerrero. Reports indicate that a criminal group known as “Los Ardillos," which is led by a brother of the local PRD party leader, was responsible for the attack. The victims' bodies were also burned. A bus transporting another musical group (Grupo Bronco) was intercepted and robbed as it traveled near Moroleón, Guanajuato. Gunmen shot an individual and kidnapped his female companion as they traveled along Highway 15 between Zitácuaro (Michoacán) and Toluca (Edomex). Three people were injured when shots were fired into their vehicle near Uruapan, Michoacán. 

 

 

Some of these attacks occurred on public transport as well. For example, three passengers were killed when gunmen fired into a small rural bus near Chalco, Edomex. Gunmen boarded a bus and demanded identification from passengers as it traveled between Jiménez and Parral in Chihuahua. Shots were fired at an urban bus in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. No injuries were reported. A driver and a companion were executed inside a bus in Chalco, Edomex. Shots were fired at a bus in response to the company failing to pay extortion demands near Tecamalucan, Veracruz. Finally, a passenger shot and killed two would-be robbers on a bus in the alcaldía Iztapalapa of Mexico City.

 

 

Narcobloqueos (Illegal Street Blockades)

 

• January 2 - Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

• January 4 - Río Bravo, Tamaulipas

• January 8 - Río Bravo, Tamaulipas

• January 12 - Churumuco, Michoacán

• January 31 - Uruapan, Michoacán

 

 

Violence

Criminal groups continue to attack civilians in public venues without regard to who will be killed or maimed, including children. Sicarios fired more than 100 shots at patrons of a taquería in Celaya (Guanajuato), killing seven people, including a child. Another attack on a bar in the same city resulted in two fatalities and eight injured. There were 16 attacks on public venues reported by the media this month, resulting in 36 fatalities. These incidents occurred across seven states (Guanajuato, Guerrero, Mexico City, Morelos, Quintana Roo, and Veracruz). Most of the incidents and fatalities were in Guanajuato. 

 

 

In other cases, assailants attacked residents in their homes. For example, four people were killed inside a residence in León, Guanajuato. A mother and her two daughters were murdered by assailants in their home in Huamuche, Oaxaca. Gunmen killed six people inside a home in Celaya, Guanajuato. Two women were killed in an attack on a residence in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Six people (including four women) were gunned down inside their home in San Francisco del Rincón, Guanajuato. Assailants entered a home and tortured several minors in Villa Estación Chontalpa, Tabasco. A 5-year-old boy was hung to death, and an 18-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and murdered during the incident. The third child has survived thus far. Five gunshot bodies (including a 7-year-old boy) were found on a road in Acámbaro, Guanajuato. The media reported that gunmen stole a baby from a couple as payment for a debt in the alcaldía Álvaro Obregón of Mexico City. The father was killed, and the mother was injured during the incident.

 

 

At least 100 sicarios attacked residents in the community of Las Pomas in Madera, Chihuahua. They set fire to 22 homes and seven vehicles. In another case, gunmen set fire to three homes and numerous vehicles in the community of Coachiti in Apaseo El Grande, Guanajuato. A similar incident occurred in Temascal, Oaxaca. Residents in a small community of Zirándaro (Michoacán) were also threatened by criminal groups. Several homes were burned, at least one person was killed, and several people injured in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. 

 

 

At least 74 women and girls were killed by assailants this month. These murders occurred across 20 states (Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo Léon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). 

 

 

In one case, a woman was pulled from her home and executed in the street in Huimanguillo, Tabasco. Another woman was pulled from a vehicle and killed in Cancún, Quintana Roo. Two women were gunned down on a street in Putla de Guerrero, Oaxaca. A young woman was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in Jacona, Michoacán. A woman was injured when shots were fired at her from a passing vehicle in Huatulco, Oaxaca.

 

 

Furthermore, the bodies of at least 296 victims were left in mass deposits. These were found at 95 different sites across 22 states (Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo Léon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). Most of the victims were in Guanajuato. This was the highest number of distinct sites since June 2019.

 

 

In addition to these, 48 bodies were pulled from mass graves in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco. Bringing the total bodies found to 344 this month. Elsewhere, five bodies were left in a truck in Hidalgo, Michoacán. Five burned bodies were found in a vehicle in Almecatla, Puebla. A body was hung from a bridge in Sayula de Aleman, Veracruz. Authorities discovered a body completely encased in a large block of cement at a trash collection site near Mercado La Merced of Mexico City.

 

 

At least 42 people were decapitated or dismembered this month across 12 states (Coahuila, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). In one case, a dismembered torso was hung from a bridge in Villahermosa, Tabasco.

 

 

Other victims this month include an Olympic medalist who was gunned down in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Narciso Elvira, a former Major League baseball player (Milwaukee Brewers), was gunned down alongside his son near Medellín de Bravo, Veracruz. The director of the Tecnológico was executed in central La Venta, Tabasco. Homero 

 

Gómez, a well-known activist supporting Monarch butterflies, was murdered in Ocampo, Michoacán. Another individual associated with Monarch preservation was killed a few days later in Michoacán. A businessman was gunned down in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas. A jeweler was gunned down in Boca del Río, Veracruz. A rancher and his employee were assaulted and murdered while driving near Salto de Agua, Chiapas. Gunmen looking for the manager stormed the offices of a sugarcane mill in Amatlán, Veracruz. Also, at least four taxi drivers were murdered in Veracruz. A bus driver was executed in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. As a side note, there were also several incidents where individuals were injured or killed by festive gunfire into the air during New Year's celebrations.

 

 

Selected Vigilante Incidents

• January 11 - an individual accused of raping and killing a young girl was burned alive by residents in Cacahoatán, Chiapas.

• January 13 - an accused kidnapper fled an angry mob and crashed his truck into a ravine in Acultzinapan, Veracruz.

• January 13 - residents beat an accused kidnapper to death in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.

• January 27 - residents beat four accused thieves in Monterrey, Nuevo Léon.

 

 

Extortion, Kidnapping, and Armed Robbery

 

 

Extortion

There were at least nine fatal extortion-related attacks reported by the media during January, resulting in 11 fatalities. This figure is on par with the previous 12 months. These incidents occurred in Guanajuato (3 incidents), Morelos (2), Oaxaca (2), Tabasco, and Veracruz. The targets were owners, employees, or patrons of bars, restaurants, small businesses, and a medical clinic. There were also several non-fatal incidents. For example, assailants set fire to a business, several vehicles, and a trailer in Muzquiz, Coahuila. A bar was damaged by arson in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

 

 

Kidnapping

Mexican authorities reported the disruption of four distinct kidnapping operations across Aguascalientes, Mexico City, and Veracruz (2 operations). Furthermore, numerous victims were rescued by authorities. For example, a woman was rescued in Nogales, Veracruz. A victim was rescued by state police in Xalapa, Veracruz. Federal police rescued an individual in Yautepec, Morelos. Two Pakistani migrants were rescued in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. In another case, a victim escaped his captors in Tomatlán, Veracruz. 

 

 

There were several instances in which the condition of the kidnap victim is currently unknown. In one case, assailants kidnapped a woman as she dropped off her child at school in Nogales, Veracruz. Gunmen also kidnapped Jaime Crivelli Espinoza (the former president of the Asociación Nacional de Avicultores) in Córdoba, Veracruz. They have demanded 3 million pesos for his release.

 

 

In other cases, the victims were ultimately murdered. For example, an individual was murdered despite a ransom payment in Tlapacoyan, Veracruz. Finally, girls and young women continue to be targeted for kidnapping and sexual assault. In one incident, a mother and her daughter were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered in Chietla, Puebla.

 

 

Armed Robbery

 

 

As always, there are numerous reports of robberies across most areas of the country. In some cases, these incidents involve cargo theft. In one incident, two guards were killed during a cargo robbery in Arteaga, Michoacán.  Two people were injured during an attempted cargo robbery near Rinconada, Veracruz. Officials with the Policía Auxiliar y Protección Patrimonial para el Estado de Veracruz (IPAX) frustrated an attempted train robbery near Nogales, Veracruz. Another train robbery was impeded when police shot and killed one of the robbers in Cañada de Morelos, Puebla. 

 

 

Banks were robbed in Tamaulipas and Veracruz. Bank customers were robbed in at least five different incidents across central and southern Veracruz. Elsewhere, two would-be robbers were shot and killed by armored truck drivers in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. Several gunmen over-powered staff and stole a vehicle owned by the mayor in Tecolutla, Veracruz.

 

 

 

 

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