Southeast of Morelos, “under siege” by Los Rojos and Guerreros Unidos

Members of gangs such as Los Rojos and Guerreros Unidos ask inhabitants to pay “extortion fees”, all the way from street vendors to businesses owners and even the local government.

These are some of the towns stricken by the criminal gans. (Photo: EL UNIVERSAL)
English 10/01/2016 14:26 David Fuentes Actualizada 14:26

The murder of Temixco mayor Gisela Mota by Los Rojos criminal gang shed light over the dangers faced by the mayors of some towns of Morelos, Guerrero and the State of Mexico, a "land of nobody" where no authority wants to assume responsibility for security.

Members of gangs such as Los Rojos and Guerreros Unidos ask inhabitants to pay “extortion fees”, all the way from street vendors to businesses owners such as drugstores, hardware and construction material stores and even the local government, that uses resources from the treasury to pay extortion. 

Small businesses such as butchers and grocery stores pay 5,000 pesos (US$279 ) per month, while the larger ones such as drugstores, hardware stores and veterinaries pay between 8,000 and 10,000 pesos (US$446 and US$558). Mayors can pay up to 100,000 pesos (US$5,580) per month.

In some cases the criminal groups kill relatives of the mayors or kidnap them when they refuse to pay. Four months ago a 65-year-old butcher in Miacatlán was killed for refusing to pay the extortion fee. Also, the father of the mayor of Coatlán del Río was kidnapped and found dead two days later.

Alberto Capella, state Public Safety Commissioner, says that at least 12 municipal leaders have received threats from alleged members of Los Rojos and Guerreros Unidos, but did not disclose their names for security reasons.

He added that the criminals want to impose on police officers and demand up to 10% of the resources for public works.

Some of the towns at risk are El Rodeo, Miacatlán, Mazatepec, Coatetelco, Tetecala, Coatlán del Río, Chavarria and Michapa, where mayors try to offer security with about 20 or 30 policemen, inadequately armed and with few training.

"Narcos rule here; we are mayors and have policemen, but have no way to deal with them,” said one of the mayors who asked to remain anonymous.

 

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