Drug cartel sows chaos in Ciudad Juárez from prison

21/11/2019
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14:37
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Ibeth Mancinas
Drug cartel sows chaos in Ciudad Juárez from prison
A police officer cordons off a crime scene where a man was gunned down in Ciudad Juárez – Photo: José Luis González/REUTERS

Drug cartel sows chaos in Ciudad Juárez from prison

21/11/2019
14:37
Ibeth Mancinas
Mexico City
-A +A
The rise of violence in Ciudad Juárez started almost simultaneously with the LeBarón family massacre in the limits of Chihuahua and Sonora, so it has not received so much attention in media outlets

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As if we were back in 2010, the most violent year in the history of Ciudad Juárez, in November, this city has lived a wave of violence with over 91 first-degree homicides, planned, according to authorities, from the Social Reinsertion Center No. 3, a prison in the city, with the objective of putting pressure on authorities to halt an operation inside it.

The rise in violence started almost simultaneously with the massacre of the LeBarón family in the limits of Chihuahua and Sonora, so it has not received so much attention from media outlets.

State authorities say that to defend the illegal activities done by Los Mexicles from prison, the organized crime group linked to the Sinaloa Cartel organized a series of attacks to prevent the conclusion of an inspection to detect weapons, drugs, cellphones, and other objects forbidden in the prison.

Have you heard of the chaos in Ciudad Juárez after cartel gunmen attack?

The operation in the Juárez prison began on Tuesday, November 5, unleashing a violent wave that has left, until November 18, 91 first-degree murders, 37 burned-out vehicles, and 50 bomb threats in factories, schools, businesses, and government offices, events that caused panic in the population.

Since 2009, the border city deals with the stigma of being one of the most violent in the country and the world; nevertheless, from November 5 to 9, Ciudad Juárez lived four of the most violent days in recent years. In that period, the state attorney general office acknowledged at least 26 first-degree murders, from which eight were related to the burning of vehicles.

Hysteria increased during these four days, for at least 20 vehicles intentionally attacked were reported, among them particular vehicles, public transport buses, as well as those of factories’ staff.

While 800 federal and state officials acted at the Juárez prison, apparently to recover control inside it, Ciudad Juárez was on fire, just as that July afternoon in 2010 when, in one of the most tragic days for its population, a car bomb exploded and took the lives of two police officers and a member of a rescue team.

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Collateral victims
Last November 6 was one of the darkest in the current month. News spoke about nine buses on fire. In one of them, nine workers of a factory ended with first and second-degree burns.

The unstoppable violence wave has been caused from inside the Juárez prison by criminals who have been imprisoned from five to ten years, according to the State General Prosecutor, César Peniche Espejel.

The officer detailed that Luis Santiago E.C. “El Miclo” and Jesús Eduardo S.R. “El Lalo” are the leaders of Los Mexicles, group that belongs to the Sinaloa Cartel; from prison, they continue ordering different strategies and crimes for the members of the criminal group who are in freedom and who are paid with drugs for their services.

Apparently, Los Mexicles have controlled that prison since 2016, for it was when the last inspection took place. Back then, authorities seized multiple forbidden objects, which were in hands of “El Miclo.”

For his part,"El Lalo" entered this prison on March 28, 2009, for different crimes, including seven kidnappings; however, he kept giving orders from inside the prison for kidnaps, extortions, and other crimes with help from Ernesto Piñón “El Neto,” who died in 2010 when gunmen from his organization were trying to set him free amidst and operation.

Despite this background, “El Lalo” has been one of the untransferable highly dangerous inmates of the Juárez prison since he has obtained several federal amparos to prevent his transfer from the place where he keeps leading the actions of Los Mexicles in the border, including the violence wave of recent weeks.

Did you know Mexican cartels distribute deadly counterfeit fentanyl pills?

Overpopulation
According to the 2019 National Diagnosis of Prison Supervision of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH), two prisons in Chihuahua are overcrowded, the one in Ciudad Juárez and the one of Aquiles Serdán, located just minutes away from the capital of the state.

This violent wave seemed to have a downward trend on November 11; however, after 60 days without any casualties, bomb threats, and killings, on November 14, organized crime resumed its activities by burning a truck with six passengers who were able to escape with no injuries and with the murder of 15 persons, in addition of calls to emergency numbers to report bombs in different buildings, while the “Buen Fin,” a weekend of discounts in Mexico, was marked by the violent death of 21 persons.

14 days from the operation in the Juárez Prison, Chihuahua’s Attorney General’s Office has yet to inform of the results of the operation, reason why Isabel Sánchez, head of the Citizen Security and Justice, urged state authorities to inform the civil society about what is going on inside the prison where the operation continues.

Isabel Sánchez said it was unfortunate that the crime’s reaction to the “cleanup” strategy has reached innocent victims and that society has become a hostage of organized crime.

For his part, the prosecutor of the northern area, Jorge Nava López, recognized that the violent acts in the state were a pressure dynamic by the organized crime group to distract the officers who participated in the operation in the Juárez prison.

Likewise, Juan Carlos Loera de la Rosa, delegate of the federal government in Chihuahua, added that state authorities are working in coordination with Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) to detect all the persons accountable.

He added that the actions of recent weeks pretend to cause psychosis in the population since Los Mexicles have lost control of the prison.

Despite the different strategies implemented in Ciudad Juárez since 2010, when the initiative of the federal administration “Todos Somos Juárez” (We All Are Juárez) emerged, headed by the then-president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, peace in the border city has yet to be consolidated.

Last year, according to official figures of the federation, 1,440 homicides were registered, while until last November 18, there had been 1,347.

According to reports from the State’s Attorney General Office, 80% of homicides in the border are linked to clashes for crystal distribution; likewise, DEA has pointed out the fragmentation and division of groups that look to control drug distribution in the border, such as Los Aztecas that got divided in Aztecas Viejos and Aztecas Nuevos, linked to the Juárez Cartel, as well as the conflict of Los Artistas Asesinos with Los Mexicles, related to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Have you heard there are over 500 riots per year in Mexican prisons?

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