Morning Canary: Mexico Feds Disarm Acapulco Police Force

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

“Federal and state police and the military have taken over policing duties in Acapulco, Guerrero, after the entire municipal force was disarmed today due to suspected infiltration by criminal gangs,” the Mexico News Daily reported Tuesday.

In what is being called a “navy operation,” Max Sedano Romain, Acapulco’s police chief, along with ‘five municipal police commanders” were detained under allegations for having “links to organized crime.”

Roberto Alvarex Heredia, the state of Guerrero’s security spokesman, said those detained will be “evaluated and subjected to confidence tests” and their “weapons, ammunition, bulletproof vests and radios were seized,” adding that two other officers, Luis Fernando N. and Brayan Antonio N., have warrants for their arrests and are being sought on suspicion of alleged homicide.

The state’s government decided to act because there were growing suspicions that the Acapulco police force had been “infiltrated” because of the “complete inaction of the municipal police in fighting the crime wave.”

Evodio Valazquez Aguirre, the mayor of the city, has said they will cooperate fully with the investigation.

Last year in August 2017, Guerrero’s governor Hector Astudillo responded to a Washington Post article calling Acapulco “Mexico’s murder capital,” saying that “the faded resort city is a symbol of the skyrocketing violence in Mexico.”

Astudillo claimed the story was a “media campaign” in conjunction with the US State Department and their travel warnings about the dangers in the state of Guerrero and other Mexican states was a “concerted effort to target Mexico’s tourism industry” to “maintain domestic visitor numbers in Miami, Texas, and New York.”

Astudillo recognized that there was a security problem in Acapulco but said that authorities are working to combat it. He also echoed speculation by the federal tourism secretary, saying he thinks that the strategy to discredit Mexico is a U.S. ploy to gain the upper hand in the current trade negotiations.

Mexico News Daily; August 28, 2017

In May 2017 the Mexico News Daily reported on Guerrero’s city of Zihuatanejo about another state and federal operation where the Mexican military “rounded up 45 “fake” officers who had infiltrated the municipal police force,” which ended up identifying three people with organized crime links, along with 27 others who were “wearing police uniforms and boots and having weapons and badges despite not being accredited police or registered on Plataforma Mexico,” which is Mexico’s national police database.

There have been “more than a dozen towns and cities in Guerrero, including state capital Chilpancingo’s force in January,” the Mexico News Daily continues, saying that police forces have been disarmed since 2014, as well as from other Mexican states, where “collusion and/or infiltration of organized crime was detected.”

Police in Tehuacán, Puebla, were relieved of their duties last month due to suspected connections to organized crime, while authorities disbanded the municipal force in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco in March.

Mexico News Daily; September 25, 2018

In December 2017, Gomez Perez, who was at that time the mayor of Petatlan, which is located about 35 kilometers southeast of Zihuataneio, was shot and killed. Perez was the second mayor to have been murdered, along with a PRC councilor and a general secretary of state of Guerrero since 2015, since “governor Hector Astudillo took office.”

According to a Washington Post report the Mexican state Tamaulipas has had their police force disbanded since 2011.

With low pay and little training, local police in Mexico are easy prey for drug cartels, which offer them money if they agree to obey gang leaders, or threaten to kill them if they don’t.

In some cities in Guerrero and Veracruz, local police were under cartel control to such an extent they would kidnap people and turn them over to drug gang hit men for interrogation and death.

Washington Post; September 25, 2018

On September 10, TNB brought readers the story about mass grave field being uncovered in Veracruz, Mexico where, at that time, 168 skulls had been “buried in a clandestine grave in the violence-plagued state of Veracruz,” pointing to “Mexico’s epidemic of cartel-related kidnapping and murder.”

Mass graves have become synonymous with this drug cartel plagued state “with more than 700 people currently missing over recent years, becoming a scene of “bloody turf battles between the Zetas and Jalisco drug cartels” while suffering “waves of kidnappings and extortion’s.”

The Los Zetas, what is left of them after being decimated by federal authorities, were formed by “ex-soldiers from Mexican special forces units.” The Jalisco are referred to as the “New Generation Cartel,” and are the ‘fastest rising drug cartel” right now, and along with what is left of the Zetas, the “Mexican Navy, law enforcement and members of various armed factions” have been involved in groups who engage in the drug-trafficking and turf wars.

It has long been believed that many of the mass graves found are from a period of 2010-2016 that lawlessness spiked when then Veracruz’s governor Javier Duarte di Ochoa, who is now in jail on charges of embezzlement while awaiting trial along with his former police chief Arturo Bermudez who is charged with “enforced disappearance.”

The Independent reported that Ochoa was “a member of Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party who governed the state until 2016.”

TNB; September 10, 2018

NPR reports, via an Associated Press wire report, “law enforcement duties in the seaside city of 800,000 will be taken over by soldiers, marines, and state police, and adding that Guerrero is considered “one of the most” violent regions in Mexico due to drug and criminal gangs as they ‘oversee’ the cultivating of poppies for their heroin production.

The US Embassy in Mexico has reinforced their travel advisory to Acapulco in the wake of this recent development.

US Embassy, Mexico City, Mexico
September 25, 2018

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