An operation to arrest a Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) leader triggered a violent response in Jalisco and Guanajuato on Tuesday, where at least a dozen vehicles and businesses were set on fire.
Carried out by the army and the National Guard in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, the operation reportedly succeeded in detaining Ricardo Ruiz Velasco, a presumed CJNG plaza chief in western Mexico and the Bajío region.
According to a Reforma newspaper report, the violence began at approximately 7:30 p.m. when a group of armed men seized three public transit buses and two private vehicles in Zapopan, a municipality that adjoins Guadalajara. They subsequently set the vehicles alight to create fiery narco-blockades.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro reported on Twitter that there was a confrontation between the army and organized crime members in the area where the municipalities of Ixtlahuacán del Río and Cuquío meet. In an attempt to block the passage of security forces, vehicles were set alight on the highway to Saltillo, he said. “Fortunately, there are no injured persons. The situation is under control,” Alfaro wrote.
The violent response to the arrest of Ruiz – who has previously been identified as a leader of a CJNG elite group – spread to the neighboring state of Guanajuato later on Tuesday night. Armed men set vehicles and businesses on fire in the municipalities of Celaya, Irapuato, Salamanca, Silao and Apaseo el Grande, according to a Milenio newspaper report. Reforma reported that public transit vehicles and convenience stores were also torched in León and Guanajuato city.
Irapuato, a city known as Mexico’s strawberry capital, bore the brunt of the backlash, according to Reforma, with at least a dozen stores and a gas station set alight. More narco-blockades were created by setting vehicles on fire on the highway between Celaya and Apaseo el Grande.
Guanajuato Governance Minister Libia García said that the violence in that state was related to the events in Jalisco. In a Twitter post, she also said that some of the aggressors involved in setting vehicles and businesses on fire had been detained.
“The criminal action is contained and under control, there are no injured persons,” García wrote.
This video posted on Twitter shows a person driving through Irapuato while cars were on fire Tuesday night.
— ᐯ乇ㄥ乇乙 (@Antoniovelezj) August 10, 2022
Known as “El Doble R” (The Double R), Ruiz is a central figure in the CJNG, according to a report by news website Publimetro. It was reported in 2020 that Ruiz and another key cartel lieutenant could challenge the leadership of Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, who is rumored to have kidney problems. However, two years later Oseguera remains at the helm of the CJNG, which is believed to operate in 28 states across Mexico.
According to Publimetro, Ruiz was wanted in connection with the 2012 murder of Venezuelan model Daisy Ferrer and the 2013 homicide of former Jalisco tourism minister José de Jesús Gallegos Álvarez.