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One of several crime scenes in Puebla. One of several crime scenes in Puebla.

Cartel war leaves 7 dead in one night in Puebla

One of the dead was the leader of a San Martín Texmelucan gang of fuel thieves

A war between rival drug and fuel theft cartels is believed to be responsible for the deaths of seven people in Puebla Sunday night, including a gang leader.

Authorities found the bodies of two men and one woman inside black plastic bags in a neighborhood in the north of Puebla city at around 9:30pm after receiving a tip-off from residents. Later that night, the bodies of four men were found in a neighborhood in the east of the city.

Among the latter was the body of Ángel Villegas, the leader of the Villegas criminal gang from the town of San Martín Texmelucan. Also known as “El Pelón” (Baldy), Villegas was arrested last year but later released.

Preliminary investigations indicate that all seven deaths are linked to a dispute between Los Villegas and another gang that also operates in San Martín, located around 40 kilometers northwest of Puebla city.

An eighth body was also found in the state capital Sunday night but the man’s death is believed to be the result of an incident that is unrelated to the cartel war.

The news website Periódico Central said that that a gang, which it didn’t name, began an offensive against Los Villegas last week.

Last Wednesday, a family of six – including three children – were wounded in an attack at a used-car lot in Santa Rita Tlahuapan, a municipality that borders San Martín.

Armed men subsequently set the car lot on fire and left a narco-banner threatening “El Pelón” Villegas.

According to Periódico Central, the Villegas gang has ties to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and was protected by the previous municipal government in San Martín Texmelucan, known as Mexico’s capital huachicolera, or fuel-theft capital.

The gang is believed to be behind the violence that has plagued San Martín for the past two years.

Source: Periódico Central (sp) 

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