An attack on the mayor of Valle de Chalco, México state, may have been perpetrated by one of three criminal organizations engaged in a turf war in the municipality.
Morena party Mayor Francisco Tenorio Contreras was shot on Tuesday while visiting a residential development in Chalco, which borders the southeast of Mexico City. The mayor suffered brain injuries and is in serious condition in hospital.
One line of investigation being pursued by the México state Attorney General’s Office (FGJEM) is that the Tláhuac Cartel was involved in the attack.
Originating from the Mexico City borough of the same name, the criminal group is vying for control of Chalco along with La Unión de Tepito and La Familia Michoacana.
La Unión and the Tláhuac Cartel have diversified their criminal activities in the municipality in recent months, according to federal sources.
All three groups are involved in drug dealing and have committed crimes in Chalco including violent car robberies and extortion.
The Tláhuac Cartel is believed to have beefed up its presence in Chalco during the administration of former Democratic Revolution Party mayor Ramón Montalvo Hernández, who was in office between 2016 and 2018.
The ex-mayor denied that his government made a pact with the criminal group to allow it to operate in the municipality although he acknowledged that he received threats that urged him to authorize its presence.
After several murders in Chalco following the 2017 death of former Tláhuac Cartel leader Felipe de Jesús “El Ojos” Pérez Luna in a confrontation with marines and police, Montalvo asked the FGJEM to investigate him and his close associates in order to rule out any suspicion of their involvement with organized crime.
The former mayor has not faced any formal accusations that he has links to criminal groups.
La Unión de Tepito, based in the infamous Mexico City neighborhood of the same name, has moved into Chalco and neighboring Tláhuac more recently.
Municipal police commanders told the newspaper El Universal that its members, and those of the Tláhuac Cartel, are responsible for carjackings in Chalco in recent months. Some people who have been arrested have admitted to belonging to the criminal groups, they said.
Although three groups are engaged in a dispute to control Chalco, violent clashes and crime generally have fallen since Tenorio was sworn in as mayor 10 months ago.
Municipal secretary Eliseo Gómez López said that at the start of the year, Chalco had the 17th highest crime rate out of 125 México state municipalities. Now it ranks 49th, he said.
“. . . We’re opting to attack [crime] firmly and decisively and we weren’t doing badly . . . one of the mayor’s public policies was a head-on fight against crime and corruption,” Gómez said.