Thursday, September 6, 2012

Six murders in 12 hours alarm Guadalajara metro and suburbs; federal and state security operations underway

Southern Pulse storm warning may already be proving its validity

Click on map to enlarge

Guadalajara proper has a population of over 1.5 million. Counting suburban communities, almost 4.5 million people live here. It's the second largest metro area in the country, exceeded only by Mexico City and the Federal District.

With a few exceptions, Guadalajara has been spared the worst excesses of the nearly six year old drug war. But there have been some dramatic exceptions.

In November 2011, the brutalized bodies of 26 execution victims were found in abandoned vehicles along a busy city freeway, an event which shocked the local community (and the federal and state governments).

In March a series of fiery narco blockades panicked citizens, who are not accustomed to acts of urban terror. Those were the work of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, better known as Los Matazetas (the Zeta killers). Ten days ago the Matazetas returned for an encore performance, staging blockades at about 30 locations, including one in the Pacific coast resort of Puerto Vallarata. Some drivers who refused to yield and surrender their vehicles were shot at, and one man was killed.

Just a few minutes northwest of the city center, an area which is exceedingly popular with tourists and foreign residents alike (Colonia Americana and trendy Chapultepec boulevard), is the sprawling suburban community of Zapopan, considered to be the best and most secure part of town. In a span of 12 hours yesterday six men were murdered in separate incidents in metropolitan Guadalajara and Zapopan, several of which had the hallmarks of organized crime hits. The murders occurred between 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 p.m. Some of the executioners were awaiting their victims, two of whom were businessmen. One man was kidnapped from a restaurant after gunmen shot and killed his brother.

It's unclear if any of these murders were related to drug cartel activity, but authorities declared a "red alert" in Jalisco state at 1:00 p.m. today. Local and federal police carried out several operations, in which military units participated, including helicopters and armored vehicles. Five men were taken into custody during security sweeps, one of whom is said to be a chief executioner for Los Matazetas, and another his lieutenant. The events unfolded in Zapopan, and in Villa Providencia and Terranova, a few miles from the Guadalajara Country Club. Authorities have not said that yesterday's six murders in the city are connected to today's security sweeps, but the events have added to recent tensions.

In June a U.S. security firm, Southern Pulse, predicted that Guadalajara would become a new center of narco violence over the next several years.

Sept. 8 - A Mexican news service reports that Thursday's military operations in Guadalajara were a search for Nueva Generación personnel - Matazetas, in other words. The most interesting part of the story is that the action was focused in Providencia, one of the city's most exclusive neighborhoods - una zona de alta plusvalía, as the source referrs to it, four blocks from the state governor's residence. Ominously, the report suggests that a bloody war for control of Jalisco between Nueva Generación and the Cártel de Sinaloa (headed by El Chapo Guzmán) "has only just begun." Not good news for a city which until now has managed to doze through most of the drug war.

Sept. 25 - Another murder today in Zapopan, a very good suburb of Guadalajara. The victim was a 39 year old man who had just arrived at a butcher shop, when two gunmen approached and shot him at close range. No further details have been released, but the case has all the hallmarks of an organized crime hit. The victim was driving a Range Rover SUV with out of state (Nayarit) tags.

Sept. 27 - And yet one more murder, again in Zapopan, during the noon hour. It appears to be a hit.

Oct. 7 - Guadalajara recorded two apparent organized crime executions over the weekend. The first victim was found in Colonia Centro, together with a narcomensaje signed by the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (Los Matazetas). In the second case the blanket-wrapped body of an adult male was found early this morning in Tlaquepaque, an historic town which is now part of the metro area (very popular with visitors). He had been bound hand and foot and shot in the head. CJNG left a message with him as well, leaving no doubt that the Matazetas are determined to make their presence felt.

Oct. 11 - Jalisco homicides remain unabated in September


  1. Not good. I have spent a lot of time in GDL, and sad to see it heading down that path.

  2. Same thing happened in Michoacan, once a pristine paradise. Even Zacatecas and Aguascalientes are gone. Civil militia in Jalisco Huasteca now to counter anarchy. Does Colombia ring a bell?

    1. Your comment is very interesting, especially the reference to "civil militia . . . to counter anarchy."

      A Mexican friend told me something rather similar last night. He's a reasonable, rational person, not given over to conspiracy-hypothesizing. He maintains that much of the country's military brass is not at all enamored of Enrique Peña Nieto, or the prospect of six years of PRI rule. He suggested that they just might decide to take matters into their own hands . . . in the trademark style of many other Latin American countries. But he quickly added, "The Mexican Army will always stand with the people, against politicians. The military will protect the people."

      His thoughts, not mine, but I found them interesting.

    2. Yesterday, QR Governor Roberto Borge Angulo gave his Informe in Chetumal. In the front row seated next to each other were former President Carlos Salinas and the General in charge of the pennisula, based in Merida. Why would a former President as powerful as Salinas bother to show up in Chetumal with a military presence? Take a wild guess. By the way, EPN was elsewhere.

  3. Here is your civil militia up front in Zacatecas: