Monday, June 17, 2024

Highway blockades, violence follow Sinaloa Cartel arrests in Zacatecas

Nine bodies were found dumped on two busy roads in the notoriously violent city of Fresnillo, Zacatecas, on Tuesday morning.

Rodrigo Reyes Mugüerza, general secretary of the Zacatecas government, confirmed the discovery in an early-morning post to his Facebook page, noting that “messages directed toward an opposing [criminal] group” were found with the bodies.

Forensic experts taking pictures at a blocked-off crime scene on a highway
Officials take photos of a crime scene in Villanueva, Zacatecas, where armed men forced drivers out of their vehicles to use them in a highway blockade. Villanueva is near San José de Lourdes, a community in the Fresnillo municipality that was the site of a confrontation between authorities and cartel members on Monday that resulted in six arrests. (Genaro Natera/Cuartoscuro)

Members of the Sinaloa Cartel are believed to have abandoned the corpses in Fresnillo. That criminal group — which was targeted in recent security operations — is involved in a turf war in Zacatecas with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). The state is located along drug trafficking routes between Pacific coast ports and Mexico’s border with the U.S. state of Texas.

Reyes said that “investigative authorities” had reached the points where the bodies were located. He noted that “the situation is reported as stable, with traffic interruptions.”

In his Facebook post, Reyes also noted that two highway blockades were reported in the early hours of Tuesday. One was in the municipality of Trancoso, located east of Zacatecas city, while the other was in General Pánfilo Natera, located further east of the capital on the border with the state of San Luis Potosí.

Reyes said that security forces were present at both points where presumed criminals had set up fiery blockades. He reported that the situation had been brought under control.

The discovery of the bodies in Fresnillo on Tuesday morning came after the arrest of 26 members of the Sinaloa Cartel in Zacatecas over the past two days. The cartel responded to those detentions by setting vehicles on fire to create highway blockades in 10 Zacatecas municipalities on Monday.

Referring to the murders of nine people and the latest highway blockades, Reyes said that the arrests had “provoked new reactions” from “a criminal group.”

He also said that the state government and “all the institutions that make up the committee for the construction of peace remain firm” in their commitment to “the process of pacification.”

“We ask society to stay calm and consult official sources of information,” Reyes added.

According to the results of the latest National Survey of Urban Public Security, 95.4% of Fresnillo residents believe that the city is unsafe to live in. Located about 60 kilometers north of Zacatecas city, Fresnillo is the only city in Mexico where more than 90% of residents feel unsafe, according to the survey.

In 2023, Zacatecas was the 11th most violent state in Mexico in terms of total homicides, with 977 murders, according to data presented by the federal government in January.

With reports from Reforma, El Universal and Milenio

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