The state of Colima has become the new hot spot for violence as homicides during the first two months of the year jumped to 71 from 17 the year before.
The inter-gang violence between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) has launched the state into first place for intentional homicides at 9.65 per 100,000 people in January and February, just ahead of Guerrero’s figure of 9.09. The national average is 2.39.
The first indication that things could turn violent came in September when the Sinaloa Cartel announced it would conduct “a clean-up,” meaning it was going after its rival the CJNG.
The cartel said on a Facebook page entitled C.D.S. Cartel de Sinaloa that its local plaza leader had met with a regional leader of the Familia Michoacana gang to strengthen their alliance and “continue protecting local citizens.”
The announcement said extortionists, kidnappers and other criminals would be “exterminated.”
“Sinaloa is now in Colima,” concluded the Facebook post on a page that has since disappeared.
On average, there were nine homicides per month in Mexico’s smallest state in terms of population between January and August last year, according to the National Public Security System. The figures began climbing in September when they reached 21.
In October through February there were 15, 12, 31, 30 and 41, respectively. February’s figure was the highest monthly total in the decade since the current system of recording crimes was initiated.
An analysis of news reports indicated that most of the violence was being seen in Manzanillo, Tecomán and the city of Colima, reported Colima Noticias.
The state’s public security secretary said the confrontation between rival crime gangs was something that could not be addressed quickly. “We are up against a titanic task,” said Eduardo Villa Valenzuela.
That task would be completed, he said, but with a long-range plan by the state government.
One of the principal territorial targets of crime gangs is the port of Manzanillo, which is used to bring in shipments of ingredients for manufacturing synthetic drugs and transport other illegal goods.