Governor González, left, inspects police officers. Governor González, left, inspects police officers.

Defense force forms as security redoubled

As state prepares for backlash against arrest, self-defense group forms in Playa del Carmen

The arrest of key figures in Mexican crime gangs often sparks an angry backlash, but federal forces have been sent in to back up security in Quintana Roo in case that should happen.

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Governor Carlos Joaquín González declared this week that the apprehension of Leticia Rodríguez Lara, also known as “Doña Lety,” would be good for the state’s security.

But security forces are on high alert following the arrest of the woman who allegedly controlled criminal activities in the cities of Cancún and Playa del Carmen.

Security has been reinforced in the 11 municipalities of the state and 4,200 municipal and state police are prepared for a reaction, said the state Secretary of Public Security.

” . . . All police chiefs have been instructed to pay special attention to large gatherings of people and entrance points of municipal seats, and carry out patrols in coordination with . . . Army and Navy personnel,” explained Rodolfo del Ángel Campos.

Governor González observed that Quintana Roo enjoys a comparatively low crime rate — it ranks seventh among states for the fewest number of crimes reported, but the surge in violence has citizens preoccupied.

Two days before Rodríguez’s arrest, tourist service providers and residents of Playa del Carmen formed a self-defense group, fed up with being victimized by organized crime.

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In a letter to the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) and the federal Security Cabinet, the group described a situation that might not be resolved by the gang leader’s arrest.

“Authorities at the three levels of government do nothing to protect us from crime; every day the executions, kidnappings and sale of drugs continue in our city and we will not allow it anymore,” they wrote.

The letter also described the group’s anti-crime operation for Playa del Carmen, “a precise and synchronized deployment” in 10 strategic points of the city, without notifying local authorities. The 10 locations are to be chosen by an “intelligence group” financed by local business people.

The letter claimed that previous security operations had been a complete failure because federal, state and municipal police officers are on the payroll of the criminal organizations, and if the latter resist they are killed.

“We also know and have proof that municipal staff in Solidaridad [the municipality where Playa del Carmen is located] are controlled by organized crime,” said the self-defense group.

Source: El Universal (sp), Reforma (sp)

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