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Crime scene in Plateros, Zacatecas. Crime scene in Plateros, Zacatecas.

‘Overtaken by organized crime:’ 9 murdered in Fresnillo, Zacatecas

Another 3 people were kidnapped in the homicide hot spot

Authorities have confirmed that nine people in two communities in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, were shot dead and three people were kidnapped from their home by armed gangs overnight Monday.

In one of the incidents, the victims’ house was set on fire.

According to state security forces, armed groups in the community of El Salto attacked two homes minutes after 2 a.m., the first located near the town center and the other on the community’s outskirts. A total of eight people were killed in that community, three people in the house near the center, which was also set on fire, and five people in the home at the outskirts of town.

In the community of Plateros, a person was found shot to death in a home, and police said witnesses told them that three other people from the home had been kidnapped.

Fresnillo Mayor Saúl Monreal Ávila acknowledged that “the municipality has been overtaken” by organized crime activity.

“The municipality does not have much capacity [to deal with crime]. I have said so a thousand and one times …” he said, telling local media that he had no information on the incidents beyond what they already had from state sources.

He called upon the state Attorney General’s Office to inform the public about the outcome of their investigations.

For years, Fresnillo has had among the highest homicide rates in Zacatecas. In June then-security minister Alfonso Durazo characterized the situation in Fresnillo as “extreme” in terms of per-capita homicides. Durazo noted that the municipality had one of the highest rates in the country.

National Public Security System figures released in December showed that between January and November of last year, Zacatecas also saw the sharpest increase in the number of homicides, a 64.9% rise from 567 to 935.

Perhaps one small note of victory against crime in the area also occurred Monday: two National Guardsmen who had been taken by force Saturday from a Guard substation in the municipality of Jerez were found around 4 a.m. in the Fresnillo community of San Cristóbal, alive and unharmed, after a coordinated search by federal, state and municipal security forces.

Meanwhile, a search for a state police officer who was kidnapped Sunday in the municipality of Villa de Cos, about 60 kilometers from Fresnillo, continues, said Security Minister Arturo López Bazán.

Sources: El Financiero (sp), TV Azteca Noticias (sp), Zacatecas Online (sp)

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