Murder, kidnapping and extortion post sharp increases
The Pacific coast state of Michoacán broke an eight year homicide record in the first six months of 2014, according to statistics released this week by the Mexico's National Public Security (SNSP) Service, a federal agency.
Through June 30, the state reported more murders and kidnappings than it has since 2006. Criminal extortion cases exceeded by four times those reported in the same period of 2009.
SNSP reported that in 2013, 384 homicides - most connected to ongoing drug war violence - occurred in the first 180 days of the year. This year the number was 555, a 30% increase.
The agency said 91 kidnappings occurred in the same period, but in Mexico only a small portion of such events are typically reported to law enforcement authorities. Mexico the world leader in 2013 kidnappings.
May was the worst month of the current year, as combined federal, state and citizen police units struggled to finish off Los Caballeros Templarios, a violent drug cartel which controlled the region for years but has now been all but decimated. The Rural Defense Force, to the rescue in Michoacán.
In March the federal Security Commissioner for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo, widely quoted by Mexican national press sources, reported the Caballeros sometimes kidnapped for bizarre membership initiation rituals. Michoacán Templarios stole human organs from child victims.
Corruption and organized crime infiltration of local governmental entities remains rampant in the state. Last week the U.S. State Dept. warned American travelers, "Defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacán except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas, where you should exercise caution."
Aug. 15, 2014 - Michoacán mayor in federal custody for murder and extortion
July 26, 2014 - Regional violence remains unabated in Michoacán, and spares no political party
SNSP said Michoacán's most dangerous population centers, based upon reported crime stats, are the capital of Morelia, Apatzingán, the Pacific port city of Lázaro Cárdenas, Uruapan and Zamora.
Mar. 22 - PAN boss: "There's no respect for life in Michoacán, nor a government"
Mar. 5 - Mexican Human Rights Comm'n. says there's no local law in Michoacán
Feb. 17 - Michoacán belongs to organized crime: 55% of Mexicans
July 25, 2013 - "Regrettably, parts of the state have passed into the hands of organized crime"
© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.