The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) yesterday fulfilled its promise to attack the Michoacán municipality of Tepalcatepec, leaving nine presumed cartel hitmen dead.
Convoys of pickup trucks filled with men and armed with Barrett 50-millimeter rifles began entering communities in the municipality around 7:00am, clashing with municipal police.
In the municipal seat of Tepalcatepec, the shooting ended around 10:00am but in the communities of Loma Blanca, La Estanzuela and Plaza Vieja, fighting continued for another hour and forced schools and businesses to close.
Residents said they called for help when the shooting began but security forces from outside the municipality did not arrive until noon.
Nine people were killed in the gunfire, while 11 others were wounded and 11 vehicles were damaged.
On August 13, a video circulated on social media showing 18 masked men who identified themselves as CJNG members threatening to attack territory held by former ally Juan José “El Abuelo” Farias Álvarez in Tepalcatepec.
Farias came to attention in 2013 as a leader of one of the self-defense groups that were fighting against the Caballeros Templarios cartel in the state. However, he has also been linked to the CJNG and its leader, Nemesio Oseguera.
According to some reports, the Michoacán self-defense campaign was really part of a strategy of the CJNG against the Caballeros Templarios.
“Our conflict isn’t against the people. We’re going to fight against ‘El Abuelo’ and anyone who helps him,’” one of the men in the video says.
Farias, who has been under suspicion for drug trafficking and other criminal activities for several years, has been arrested at least once, the most recent in May last year. But due to inconsistencies in evidence given by navy marines, who made the arrest, he was released. He returned home to Tepalcatepec to a hero’s welcome.