Soldiers on duty in Michoacán. Soldiers on duty in Michoacán.

Army moves in after Michoacán violence

Governor says 'it's over' for the bad guys as 1,200 troops deployed

The Army sent in more than 1,200 troops on the weekend after the violence unleashed last week by the Los Viagras criminal gang in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán.

The military will work with state and municipal security forces, said Army commander Javier Cruz Rivas.

” . . . We’ll be working in coordination to prevent these excesses, fires and all that,” Cruz told the newspaper El Universal.

He attributed the violence in Tierra Caliente to the activity of “three or four criminals . . . it’s nothing for them but for the public it is.”

The violence followed the arrest of Los Viagras hitman Jordy Villa and included 26 roadblocks and the torching of 33 vehicles, two department stores and a convenience store.

Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo reported that so far more than 40 individuals have been arrested in relation to the March 13 and 14 violence.

“I’m going after the masterminds . . . who thought they were untouchable and invincible; that’s over in Michoacán,” said Aureoles, adding that his administration is focusing on the Tierra Caliente region, chosen by the gang as an operations center and a hideout.

“It’s over for them, because I am supervising the operations and they do not scare me,” he said.

On Sunday, the leader of the Viagras gang claimed in a video recording that Aureoles had given him 1 million pesos during his election campaign for governor in exchange for support.

Nicolás Sierra Santana also accused the governor of offering him 10 million pesos about three weeks ago to guarantee peace in the state. The cartel boss said he declined the offer.

It was not enough to maintain peace because the government must have a dialogue with all the criminal organizations, Sierra said, blaming Aureoles for the escalation in violence and crime gang executions.

He issued a call to human rights organizations and the media to “come and see the reality.”

Source: El Universal (sp)

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