Shootings, prison breaks, and mass graves in Mexico
The most recent incident includes shootings in Culiacán after security forces arrested Ovidio Guzmán - Photo: Jorge Alberto Mendoza/EL UNIVERSAL

Shootings, prison breaks, and mass graves in Mexico

Mexico City
Alistair Bell
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In the last decade, Mexico has witnessed a wave of violence after launching a war on drugs

On October 17, heavily armed gunmen surrounded security forces in Culiacán and forced them to free Ovidio Guzmán, one of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s sons, after his capture triggered shootings, blockades, and a prison break that terrorized the northern city.

The incident surrounding the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán reached heights rarely seen during Mexico’s drug war and raised pressure on President López Obrador.

The Sinaloa cartel's macabre plan.

Nevertheless, this is not the only violent incident in recent Mexican history, here are some of the most significant moments in Mexico’s drug war:

* September 15, 2008: Suspected members of the Zetas cartel tossed grenades into a crowd celebrating Mexico’s independence day in the city of Morelia, killing 8 people and wounding over 100.

* January 31, 2010: Suspected cartel members killed 13 high school students and two adults at a party in Ciudad Juárez.

* August 25, 2011: Masked gunmen torch a casino in Monterrey, killing 52 people, most of them women. Then-President Felipe Calderón declared three days of mourning and demanded a crackdown on drugs in the United States, the main market for Mexican drugs.

The Culiacán massacre explained.

* May 4, 2012: The bodies of 9 people were found hanging from a bridge and 14 others found dismembered in the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

* October 7, 2012: Marines killed the leader of the Zetas cartel, Heriberto “The Executioner” Lazcano, in the state of Coahuila. His body was snatched from the funeral home by armed men.

* September 26, 2014: 43 students disappeared after they were abducted in the state of Guerrero by police who the government said handed them over to a cartel involved in heroin trafficking. Authorities definitively identified the remains of only one of them, and the incident has never been fully explained.

The Sinaloa cartel takes over Colombia.

* April 6, 2015: 15 police were killed in an ambush in Jalisco state during weeks of violence that claimed the lives of more than two dozen officers and culminated in the shooting down of an army helicopter. Authorities blamed the violence on the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), former members of the Sinaloa Cartel.

* July 11, 2015: El Chapo, Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, broke out of a high-security prison for the second time, escaping in a tunnel built right under his cell. He had previously bribed his way out of prison during an escape in 2001.

* January 8, 2016: Security forces recaptured El Chapo in a shootout and chase him through drains in Sinaloa.

* September 6, 2018: Prosecutors said the bodies of at least 166 people had been found in the state of Veracruz, an important trafficking route for cartels moving drugs toward the U.S. border.

* October 14, 2019: Suspected CJNG gunmen shot dead over a dozen police in an ambush in Michoacán, in one of the bloodiest attacks on security forces since President López Obrador took office on December 2018. The next day, soldiers killed 14 suspected cartel members in Guerrero.

Two Israeli criminals were allegedly killed by a Mexican cartel.


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