The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) is being accused of attacking a Michoacán police convoy with explosive-laden drones in Aguililla in the early hours of Tuesday morning, just hours after the same security force cleared highway blockades in the municipality.
Two officers were wounded in the attack, which occurred in the community of El Aguaje, but the Michoacán Public Security Ministry (SSP) said their injuries were not serious and they had been released from hospital.
In light of the attack, police bolstered their presence in Aguililla “to preserve order and avoid acts that place the safety of the public at risk,” the SSP said.
However, police were unable to stop gang members from reestablishing blockades on the Apatzingán-Aguililla highway.
Less than 24 hours after police reopened the highway, which had been blocked at seven locations with stones, trenches and vehicles, the road was once again cut off near the community of El Terrero. It is unclear whether the CJNG or the Cárteles Unidos — the two groups are engaged in a bloody turf war in Aguililla — set up the new blockades, which included a trench across the highway.
The newspaper El Universal has reported that the CJNG was responsible for the previous blockades — which have caused shortages of essential goods in Aguililla — whereas Reforma, citing local residents, has said that the Cárteles Unidos established them. State police had repaired the Apatzingán-Aguililla highway on Tuesday and reopened it to traffic.
By blocking the highway again so soon after it was cleared, criminals mocked authorities, said José Segura, a Catholic priest in Apatzingán.
“Criminals dug up the highway again. It shows the [lack of] respect that the criminals have for the authorities and also the inability of the authorities … to bring these people under control,” he said.
Other residents criticized the state police for not carrying out permanent security operations in Aguililla and the broader Tierra Caliente region.
“There is uncertainty in Aguililla. We have this problem; it’s not just now, it’s been going on for months. The government tells us that the highway is open, but they [the security forces] leave the next day and everything goes back to how it was,” one resident told Reforma.