Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Lupita fled violence in Michoacán only to find more in Tijuana

A Michoacán mother forced to leave her home state after being kidnapped by police and handed over to a criminal gang is immersed in violence once again after moving to Mexico’s most violent city.

According to a report by the newspaper El Universal, Lupita (no last name given) was eating a meal at her Michoacán home with her children when municipal police kicked her door down, aimed their weapons at her, beat her, forcibly removed her, drove her to a hill outside town and handed her over to the Viagras crime gang.

The newspaper didn’t say why she was kidnapped and delivered to the Viagras, a gang formed in Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente region that has been described by Governor Silvano Aureoles as “the most bloodthirsty and dangerous” criminal group in the state.

The Viagras gave Lupita two options: stay in Michoacán and run the risk of being killed or leave. She opted for the latter.

Lupita decided to move to Tijuana and arrived in the northern border city – currently the most violent municipality in Mexico – with her children in July 2019. She rented a room in the Sánchez Taboada district, which El Universal described as “the most dangerous neighborhood in the country’s most dangerous city.”

“The police report announces one or more murders almost every day. The discovery of bodies or a head accompanied by threats between groups that fight over the distribution of drugs is normal. It’s no coincidence that the federal government has considered militarized patrols in the area where to live is almost a victory,” the report said.

It wasn’t long before the crime and violence in Sánchez Taboada affected Lupita on a personal level. Her younger brother, José Miguel, traveled to Tijuana in late 2019 to spend the Christmas-New Year holiday period with her. He had a ticket to return to Michoacán on January 13, 2020 but he disappeared one week before the departure date.

“I was like his mother, we grew up together and some bastards took him from me,” said Lupita, who began her own investigation into her brother’s disappearance almost immediately.

She also pressured authorities to investigate the case and search for him by protesting outside the offices of the Baja California Attorney General’s Office. But their response was to threaten to take her children from her for supposedly placing them at risk.

Lupita is now a member of a group of mothers and other relatives of missing people who tirelessly search for their absent loved ones.

She told El Universal that she has lost count of the number of dead bodies she has seen in morgues but to date she hasn’t found any trace of her brother.

With reports from El Universal 

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