Tuesday, June 18, 2024

10 killed after prison dispute spills over into streets of Ciudad Juárez

At least 10 people were killed in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Thursday during a day of violence that began with a brawl between imprisoned members of rival criminal gangs.

At least two state prison inmates were killed before the violence spilled over into the streets of the northern border city, where eight other people were murdered and businesses and vehicles were set on fire. Reports indicated that 10 to 15 people were injured.

The wave of violence began in the early afternoon when a fight between members of rival criminal factions affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel broke out in the Cereso No. 3 prison. Some of the feuding prisoners are believed to be members of Los Chapitos – a Sinaloa Cartel cell led by the sons of notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán – while others allegedly belong to a gang called Los Mexicles.

Chihuahua authorities said that two inmates were killed during the confrontation, but the newspaper Reforma reported three deaths and said that two of the victims were members of Los Mexicles. Witnesses cited by El Universal said that some inmates used armas blancas (nonexplosive weapons such as knives) in the melee, while others relied solely on their fists. Four prisoners were injured.

Radio presenter Alan González and three other radio station employees were among those killed. They were shot by an armed group while reporting live on air.
Radio presenter Alan González and three other radio station employees were among those killed. They were shot by an armed group while reporting live on air.

The brawl occurred during visiting time at the prison, meaning that inmates’ family members witnessed the outbreak of violence. One woman indicated that a group of men entered the prison from outside and initiated the fight.

“It appeared that the devil came in,” she said. “… We want the authorities to tell us how it is that there is no security and anyone can enter the prison.”

Authorities said the prison brawl had been brought under control by 4 p.m., at which time a spate of attacks in different parts of Ciudad Juárez was just beginning.

Armed men opened fire near a pizza restaurant in the city’s east side, killing four people and wounding one other, according to municipal police. The victims were radio station employees who were broadcasting live from outside the pizzeria.

Video footage of the attacks, shared by the newspaper La Jornada. This video includes violent images.

According to El Universal, two women were murdered at an OXXO convenience store in a neighborhood in the border city’s southeast. One of the women was an employee of the store while the other was dropping off a job application.

El Universal said that armed attacks at a gas station and another OXXO store left two other people dead. Reforma reported that arson attacks and/or gun violence occurred at at least 20 stores as well as OXXOs, food businesses and gas stations. Vehicles were torched to create fiery narco-blockades in different parts of the city.

Chihuahua Governor Maru Campos condemned the violence in a Twitter post Thursday night. “I deeply regret the loss of human life in this atrocious event against Ciudad Juárez this afternoon,” she wrote.

“I condemn the violent acts that occurred. … I reiterate my commitment to working to the best of my strengths and capacity to guarantee the well-being of Ciudad Juárez residents.”

With reports from El Universal and Reforma 

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