Three more cartel training camps have been shut down by authorities in Jalisco this week after they were located by a helicopter equipped with night vision gear.
The state Attorney General’s office conducted the surveillance of the Ahuisculco and Navajas regions in the municipality of Tala on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning 400 state police officers and four Army units were sent in to dismantle the facilities, operated by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
The security forces found the first camp had been abandoned but not the second, where they encountered resistance. One alleged criminal was killed in the ensuing gunfight and 16 other people were arrested, including a Honduras national and three men who had been reported missing.
The authorities arrested two more men in the third camp where they were guarding drugs and preparing meals, purportedly for the men in the second facility.
The authorities seized two firearms, 15 motorcycles and combat training materials printed in English.
Jalisco Attorney General Jesús Eduardo Almaguer Ramírez said another operation was mounted in the city of Tala to arrest the man believed to be in charge of the camps, but only a subordinate was located.
Of those arrested 10 have been linked to murder, fuel theft or kidnapping, he said.
The three men reported as missing were among those who had disappeared in the region between June 6 and 13, disappearances that triggered the operations that have resulted in the discovery of five CJNG training camps in 15 days.
Almaguer said the operation is ongoing and has been extended to the Jalisco Valleys municipalities of Ameca, Teuchitlán and Tequila, as another 40 men are believed held captive by the cartel and undergoing training under duress.
The Attorney General’s office believes that controlling the Valleys region is a priority for the cartel for its location, which provides a direct corridor to the north Pacific coast.
It also suspects that municipal authorities are either complicit with the cartel’s activities or at the least turning a blind eye to them.