Michoacán authorities said a shootout on Thursday in Pinzándaro, Buenavista, between a drug cartel and state police and the army left eight presumed criminals dead.
The state attorney general revealed that the confrontation began after authorities surprised members of the Viagra cartel traveling in a convoy, armed with assault rifles and grenades. The ensuing hour-long gunfight left a police officer and a soldier seriously injured and eight gang members dead.
Authorities detained 12 suspected members of the Viagra and recovered arms and ammunition.
A source in the state government told journalists that the confrontation was probably a successful attempt to cover the escape of Nicolás Sierra Santana and Rodolfo Sierra Santana, the main leaders of the organization.
Last year, violence in the state’s Tierra Caliente region was mainly attributed to territorial disputes between the Viagra gang and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
In 2018, clashes between authorities and cartels were common on the Apatzingán-Buenavista highway. Yesterday’s confrontation marked the fifth successive day of joint operations by federal and state authorities in the Tierra Caliente, a longtime hotbed of violent cartel disputes and birthplace in 2012 of the self-defense groups, which were later infiltrated by cartels like Los Viagra.
Also on Thursday, Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo visited Apatzingán to inaugurate a new security center in the region. In a tweet, the governor announced that he and other authorities had revised the state’s security plan, saying that the situation was different in every region.
“That is why we need to adapt our plan of action. We are following through for a safe Michoacán.”
According to authorities, the operations in the Tierra Caliente form part of a state-wide initiative to combat organized crime through the cooperation of state police and the armed forces in regular patrols and flyovers.