A building that was part of a cartel training camp. A building that was part of a training camp for new recruits.

Cartel training camp shut down in Jalisco

Missing persons investigation led to the camp's discovery

Authorities in Jalisco have discovered and shut down a cartel training camp where recruits were held against their will while they received instruction in the use of firearms, attack skills and self-defense.

Investigations into the disappearance of six men led police to two properties in the municipality of Tala, around 40 kilometers west of Guadalajara, where they found the the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) camp.

State authorities had received reports of the missing men between June 6 and 13, and there was one common denominator: all had supposedly gone to Tala to undergo training to work for a private security company.

Cyber police investigating the case found Facebook profiles of two men and two women who were offering jobs in Tala as bodyguards, security guards and even municipal police.  The online ads included a contact number and indicated that paid training was part of the deal.

The cartel has previously used similar recruitment strategies, handing out flyers in Tlaquepaque and Puerto Vallarta.

Furthermore, authorities had also already discovered signs of a training camp in the municipality and arrested one person in June.

All indications pointed to Tala as the most likely place they would locate the missing men, but the final piece of the puzzle was solved when one man managed to escape from the camp and alert state police to the exact location.

The police operation took place Tuesday just outside the small town of Las Navajas.

The first property uncovered was where the forcibly detained recruits were served meals. Police arrested a man who allegedly transported food to the site and freed two of the men who had been reported missing.

The second property located was a camouflaged training camp where police found human remains in a shallow grave and recovered paintball rifles and cartridges, among other items.

According to Jalisco Attorney General Eduardo Almaguer Ramírez, the rescued men indicated that they had heard the human remains were of men who had tried to escape.

Almaguer Ramírez said that the search continues for a further 37 people who — according to those rescued — are still detained by between 50 and 60 members of the CJNG.

He also said that police in the municipality are suspected of being complicit because the logistics of operating a camp as well as transporting large numbers of people between sites wasn’t something that would go unnoticed.

Tala municipal authorities have previously been implicated in criminal activity.

Government data shows that more than 200 people have been reported missing in the Vallies Region of Jalisco, an administrative district made up of 14 municipalities including Tala. More than 100 of those people remain missing.

Police operations continue in the municipality as well as in nearby Ameca, and Almaguer Ramírez remains confident that the remaining recruits will soon be found and freed.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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