One hundred state security personnel were sent in yesterday to the Sierra Tarahumara region of Chihuahua after an eight-hour battle between rival gangs.
Seven people were killed, including a municipal police officer, when violence broke out Friday in the municipality of Uruachi, located near the Sonora border.
The newspaper El Diario reported that nearly 100 gangsters practically took over the area, left defenseless and in the middle of the dispute between the rival drug gangs.
On Friday afternoon, the newspaper spoke by telephone with a municipal staff member who was trapped in her office.
“It’s been seven hours now that I’ve been hiding beneath a desk,” said the woman, who was alone in the building. “I cannot leave; you can hear a lot of gunfire.” She said the battle began about 6:30 that morning.
The man in charge of the state’s security commission described it as a confrontation between organized crime gangs for control of the neighboring Bocoyna region. Álvaro Serrano also said security forces were unable to intervene at first due to a shortage of personnel.
The delay was criticized by the husband of Uruachi Mayor Hacel Campos Rascón, who charged that state forces took eight hours to arrive from Creel, which lies three hours away.
Marcel Rascón Félix also accused military forces of failing to respond, making the situation even worse for this community of 1,100.
One hundred investigators from the State Investigations Agency were combing the area yesterday with the help of a helicopter, and roadblocks had been set up to check vehicles entering and leaving the area.