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National Guardsmen on patrol in Antonio Barona, Cuernavaca. National Guardsmen on patrol in Antonio Barona, Cuernavaca.

Cuernavaca has become battlefield between gangs allied with 2 cartels

Fighting for dominance, rival gangs ally themselves with the Jalisco cartel and Familia Michoacana

A turf war has turned Cuernavaca, Morelos, into a battlefield as criminal organizations associated with La Familia Michoacana and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) wreak havoc in the City of Eternal Spring.

“The situation of violence that has occurred in recent days is the result of the struggle between antagonistic groups … that seek to control actions in different neighborhoods of the municipality,” the Morelos Public Safety Commission posted on Facebook Thursday.

Rival gangs have pledged allegiance to national criminal organizations as they struggle for dominance, according to an internal report by the commission, and the resulting violence has left the city reeling.

One of those gangs is Los Colombianos, which is allied with the CJNG. It is thought to have been responsible for Tuesday night’s mass shooting in the crime-ridden Antonio Borona neighborhood in which nine people were killed and 14 injured as they attended the wake of a teenager killed in a motorcycle accident.

State Public Security Commissioner José Antonio Ortiz Guarneros likened the attack to an act of terrorism because the gunmen fired indiscriminately in an effort to kill everyone present. A witness said the attackers didn’t stop shooting until they ran out of bullets. More than 60 casings were found at the scene.

Since the shooting, the military, National Guard, and state and municipal police have had a heavy presence in the area, anticipating an act of vengeance, but even heightened security could not deter the violence.

Just before 1 p.m. on Thursday, witnesses say, a man emerging from a taxi in La Barona was shot dead by assailants on a motorcycle who then shot the taxi driver, who was hospitalized for his injuries.

The murdered passenger was rumored to be a Los Colombianos loan shark. Los Mayas, a criminal syndicate affiliated with La Familia Michoacana, are thought to be behind yesterday’s shootings as revenge for Tuesday night’s attack. 

Police say ballistics from casings recovered Tuesday night match other shootings linked to the gang, which is led by Francisco Rodríguez Hernández, alias “El Señorón.”

A video circulating on social media depicting a member of Los Colombianos being kicked in the face while handcuffed by an unseen captor seems to corroborate the authorities’ conclusion.

“I am Omar Moreno Rojas. This happened to me because I was working with … Francisco Javier Rodríguez Hernández, because I was being an asshole to the people of Morelos. I belong to El Señorón. We are dedicated to kidnapping, to extortion. He makes truces with people and betrays them in the end. We were the ones who killed,” the bloodied man says.

Police believe the house where Tuesday’s funeral was held had previously been used as a drug lab by Los Mayas, which was formed out of the ashes of the Beltrán Leyva cartel and is led by Abel Maya Domínguez.

On Wednesday, the president of the Morelos Bar Association and former state attorney general José Luis Urióstegui Salgado said the governor and security commissioner were incapable and uninterested in fighting crime and should be removed from office. 

In the past four days, 10 people have been shot dead and at least 15 injured in Cuernavaca. 

Source: El Universal (sp)

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