Wednesday, December 6, 2023

6 heads on the roof of a car: a grim reminder of who’s in charge in Chilapa

Authorities are investigating yet another multiple homicide after six human heads were left on the roof of a car in Chilapa, Guerrero, on Thursday.

State police responded to reports of the grisly scene early Thursday morning. Other human remains were found in bags inside the car, which was parked on the main thoroughfare of Chilapa, a small city about 60 kilometers east of the state capital Chilpancingo.

A sign was hung between two trees on the sidewalk next to where the car was parked.

“In Chilapa it’s strictly prohibited to sell and consume crystal, kidnap, collect extortion payments and steal,” it said.

“This will happen to all those who go around doing bullshit. All these crimes warrant capital punishment and the rules are enforced because they’re enforced. This plaza has an owner and is respected.”

A banner left near the severed heads laid out <i>plaza</i> rules that residents are expected to follow. A <i>plaza</i> is a geographical area controlled by a cartel or a sub-unit of a cartel's area of influence.
A banner left near the severed heads laid out plaza rules that residents are expected to follow. A plaza refers to an area controlled by a criminal organization. Twitter

It is unclear who perpetrated the crime and who the victims are, but a criminal group called Los Ardillos and another called Los Rojos operate in Chilapa and have been engaged in a turf war for years.

The former and community police are also engaged in an open war, El País reported. Community police told that newspaper that Los Ardillos are the main instigators of violence and responsible for at least 38 murders and 18 abductions since 2015.

The Guerrero Attorney General’s Office said it had opened an investigation into the murder of the six unknown victims.

Los Ardillos and Los Rojos continue to operate in Chilapa despite the National Guard and the army having had a permanent presence in the municipality since January 2020. Their deployment – which has encountered some resistance by residents – followed the murder of 10 indigenous musicians in Chilapa that month. Los Ardillos allegedly committed that crime.

Children as young as six have received combat training from Chilapa community police so they are able to defend themselves in the case of an attack by a criminal group.

The latest incident of violence in the troubled municipality followed recent massacres in the neighboring states of Michoacán and Puebla.

Twenty people were killed at a clandestine cockfight in Zinapécuaro, Michoacán, last Sunday, as many as 17 were executed on the street in the town of San José de Gracía in the same state on February 27 and nine people were murdered inside a house in Atlixco, Puebla, on March 9.

With reports from El País and Reforma 

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