Seven days after nine people were killed in confrontations between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and citizens of Tepalcatepec, Michoacán, army troops have been deployed to prevent further violence in the municipality.
Michoacán Government Secretary Carlos Hernández Tello said that the deployment is being coordinated between the three levels of government.
“We are in permanent dialogue with Mayor Felipe Martínez, supporting him and making sure that Tepalcatepec remains calm,” he said. “All levels of government are doing what’s necessary to support the efforts of the municipal government.”
The security forces have set up checkpoints around Tepalcatepec and are closely monitoring the parts of the municipality that border the state of Jalisco. They have also started intelligence work in the neighboring municipalities of Buenavista, Coalcomán and Aguililla.
Since August 30, Tepalcatepec has been the scene of a conflict between the CJNG and another armed group presumed to be led by Juan José Farías Álvarez, known as “El Abuelo,” or “The Grandfather.”
Two weeks before the clashes started, the CJNG released a video in which it spoke of a plan to attack the municipality and the “Cartel del Abuelo.”
On Thursday, around 1,000 people marched for peace in Tepalcatepec. Juana Reyes, a spokesperson for the Social Movement for Peace, asked Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles for proof that the self-defense group is a criminal organization led by Farías.
“If he really has proof that we are a town of criminals, or a cartel led by this person, he should present them,” she said. “We’re willing to face justice, but not to face gossip or rumors.”
The mayor has also denied that Farías is involved in crime.