Opium poppies growing near Polixtepec, Guerrero. Opium poppies growing near Polixtepec, Guerrero.

1 million poppy plants destroyed in Guerrero

Battle between crime gangs led to discovery of plantations

Armed civilians are presumed to have been fighting over poppy plants in the mountains of Guerrero earlier this week, but there’s not much left to fight about now.

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Federal and state security forces spent three days destroying nearly 1 million opium poppy plants discovered on 20 hectares of land near the community of Polixtepec.

The plantation was located after residents called the State Rural Police to report gunfire Tuesday morning. The Guerrero security coordination group said two crime gangs were involved in a confrontation.

When some 30 state police arrived early that afternoon, they were attacked by about 80 armed civilians. The gun battle lasted about 20 minutes and left one civilian dead and another, a 14-year-old boy, wounded.

The gangs are believed to have been fighting over the poppy plantations, said to number at least 10.

“From Wednesday until Friday they have destroyed nearly 20 hectares or 200,000 square meters [of opium poppies] in the vicinity of Polixtepec,” said security spokesman Roberto Álvarez.

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Polixtepec

State police and the Army boosted their presence in the area, located in the municipality of Leonardo Bravo, after citizens of the town of Chichihualco detained more than 100 Federal Police officers last month, accusing them of committing abuses and making arbitrary detentions.

State intelligence reports have indicated that the Sierra Cartel operates in the region.

Source: Bajo Palabra (sp), Reforma (sp)

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