The National Guard and state police have taken control of public safety in the municipality of Altotonga, Veracruz, relieving the 43-member local police force of duty.
Members of the municipal police squad were ordered to undergo training and competency testing in the state capital of Xalapa after a family was gunned down over the weekend.
The change took place on Wednesday morning when national and state authorities also examined the municipal force’s weapons and disarmed them, the state’s Ministry of Public Security reported.
The measure, ordered by Governor Cuitláhuac García Jiménez, was enacted after a couple and their 8-year-old daughter were gunned down on Sunday morning.
The family, who sold chickens for a living, were seated in their delivery truck around 7 a.m. when gunmen on a motorcycle fired at least 15 bullets into the cab of the vehicle, prompting neighbors to appeal to the governor via social media for help in maintaining order in the town where residents say crime has run rampant in recent months.
Sources say the family had recently been victims of an extortion attempt and were targets of loan sharks belonging to a criminal oragnization.
Gangs will typically offer high-interest loans, and when a party can’t pay, threats and violence often follow.
The move by the governor took place a day after García held a public safety meeting in Altotonga in which he pledged to reinforce security in the area from Altotonga to Tlapacoyan, notably in Jalacingo, Atzalan, Martínez de la Torre and Misantla. After taking office, García vowed in July 2018 that his administration would abolish crime in Veracruz within two years. Thus far in 2020, at least five families in the state have been murdered.
“We will not allow criminal gangs or groups to return to Veracruz,” García said Monday. “Unlike other administrations, we are not going to allow impunity.”
Source: El Universal (sp)