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Police guard the crime scene Friday in Mexico City. Police guard the crime scene Friday in Mexico City.

Officials learned 2 weeks ago Jalisco cartel was planning an attack

Mexico City police chief one of 4 senior officials that were to be targets of the cartel

Government officials, including President López Obrador, had known for two weeks that the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) was planning an attack against a top-level official. 

Friday morning, Mexico City Police Chief Omar García Harfuch was ambushed by 28 armed men who sprayed the armored car he was traveling in with more than 150 high caliber rounds in a brazen murder attempt.

García received three bullet wounds but has been reported in stable condition and expected to recover. 

Two police officers were killed in the attack as was a 26-year-old woman who found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

Security Minister Alfonso Durazo confirmed what Milenio reported on June 17: that between June 8 and 12 the National Intelligence Center (CNI) intercepted a telephone conversation between CJNG members.

Government officials and President López Obrador were made aware of the threat two weeks ago when security officials revealed the content of the phone call, in which cartel members were allegedly discussing their plan. They talked about which hitmen would be dispatched to attack public servants who were disrupting their criminal operations. 

Authorities say the targets mentioned include Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, for the recent extradition of El Menchito, CJNG leader Nemesio Oseguera’s son; Minister Durazo for federal operations against the cartel; Financial Intelligence Unit head Santiago Nieto for recently blocking 1,939 bank accounts linked to the cartel; and Chief García for arresting some of the cartel’s main leaders. 

Security for some government officials was intensified as authorities worked to assess the validity of the threat, which played out at 6:35 Friday morning. 

As García was on his way to his morning meeting with Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, a construction truck and an SUV blocked the Paseo de la Reforma near the intersection with Monte Blanco in the upscale Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood and opened fire, killing two officers who were escorting García as well as a woman driving through the area. Four police officers and one 23-year-old female bystander also suffered injuries.

Fragmentation grenades, .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles, pistols and bulletproof vests were recovered from the scene.

García was shot in the shoulder, clavicle and knee and underwent surgery yesterday, but not before tweeting from his hospital bed that he blamed the CJNG for the attack. “This morning we were cowardly attacked by the CJNG, two colleagues and friends of mine lost my life, I have three bullet wounds and several shrapnel injuries. Our nation must continue to confront cowardly organized crime. We will continue working.”

That evening he updated his status. “I came out of surgery, I’m fine. I appreciate the displays of solidarity and affection. We will continue working for security and maintaining peace in our great Mexico City. Thank you very, very much for everything!”

Prosecutors say that the 12 men who were initially arrested in the attack stated that they were hired three weeks earlier. Footage of the attack was captured on surveillance video, leading to the additional arrests of two suspects in Atlacomulco and five in Tláhuac. 

Among those in custody is Armando Briseño de los Santos who authorities are naming as the intellectual author of the attack. 

Briseño is reported to be a cartel hitman who authorities suspect was responsible for the murder of two Israeli men in Mexico City in July 2019. 

García, who was named Mexico City’s chief of police in 2019, has been battling organized crime for years. 

In his previous role as head of the investigation division of the Federal Police, García was responsible for the release of 186 kidnapping victims, the capture of 606 kidnappers and the dismantling of 56 criminal gangs, according to El Heraldo de México

Source: Milenio (sp)

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