Cartels are hunting down police at their homes in Mexico

Shamraiz KhalidWeb Editor

31st May, 2021. 07:11 pm
hunting down police

Mexico City – Mexico’s “hugs, not bullets” policy has been responded to by the notoriously violent Jalisco cartel with a policy of their own: Hunting down police, several members of an elite police force were kidnapped in the state of Guanajuato. The victims were tortured for names and addresses of fellow officers. Now the cartel is using that information to hunt down and kill police at their homes, on their days off, in front of their families.

This is the most direct challenge posed to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s policy of avoiding violence and rejecting any war on the cartel as this type of attack on officers is seldom seen outside of the most gang-plagued nations of Central America.

The cartel has accused members of the elite state force known as the Tactical Group, of treating its members unfairly as the gang declares war on the government and aims to eradicate the new group. A professionally printed banner signed by the cartel and hung on a building in Guanajuato in May read, “If you want war, you’ll get a war. We have already shown that we know where you are. We are coming for all of you.”

“For each member of our firm (CJNG) that you arrest, we are going to kill two of your Tacticals, wherever they are, at their homes, in their patrol vehicles,” the banner read, referring to the cartel by its Spanish initials. The officials in Guanajuato refused to comment on the cartels hunting down police and how many members of the elite group have been murdered so far. The state is Mexico’s most violent state where Jalisco is fighting local gangs backed by the rival Sinaloa cartel.

However, the state publicly acknowledged the latest case in which an officer was kidnapped from his home on Thursday and ended up being killed and his body dumped on a highway. There have been many cases as revealed by the Guanajuato-based security analyst David Saucedo.

“A lot of them (officers) have decided to desert. They took their families, abandoned their homes and they are fleeing and in hiding,” Saucedo said. “The CJNG is hunting the elite police force of Guanajuato.” Even though the number of victims is hard to come by, Poplaab, a news cooperative in Guanajuato said that at least seven police officers have been killed on their days off so far this year. In January,  gunmen went to the home of a female state police officer, killed her husband, dragged her away, tortured her and then dumped her bullet-ridden body.

According to Poblap, Guanajuato has had the highest number of police killed in any Mexican state since at least 2018. A total of 262 police officers have been killed between 2018 and May 12 which averages about 75 officers each year – more than those killed by gunfire or other assaults in the entire United States, which has 50 times the population of Guanajuato.

The state government has published a special decree on May 17 to provide an unspecified amount of funding for protection mechanisms for police and prison officials, due to the worsening situation in Guanajuato. The decree stated, “Unfortunately, organized crime groups have shown up at the homes of police officers, which poses a threat and a greater risk of loss of life, not just for them, but for members of their families.”

“They have been forced to quickly leave their homes and move so that organized crimes groups cannot find them,” it reads. The State officers did not describe the protection measures or comment on whether officers were to be paid to rent new homes, or if there were plans to construct special secure housing compounds for them and their families.

“This is an open war against the security forces of the state government,” Saucedo noted. To tackle the root causes of crime, Lopez Obrador has campaigned on trying to deescalate the drug conflict, describing a “hugs, not bullets” approach. Since taking office in 2018, he has preferred a long-range policy of addressing social problems like youth unemployment that contribute to gang membership, rather than openly confronting cartels. The president has even released one capo to avoid bloodshed.

However, former U.S Ambassador Christopher Landau said in April that Lopez Obrador views the fight against drug cartels “as a distraction … So he has basically adopted an agenda of a pretty laissez-faire attitude towards them, which is pretty troubling to our government, obviously.”

 

 

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