Major increase in violent deaths of Mexican Troops and Federal Police in Michoacan

 

By Michael Webster Syndicated Investigative Reporter July 21, 2009 at 5:00 PM PDT

 

 

Rafael Cedeño Hernandez and other suspected La Familia men were detained in April in Michoacan state., 10 mayors and 20 other local officials were held across the state in a related inquiry. Officials say La Familia has tainted all levels of political life in Michoacan.

In response to a major increase in death and violence in the Mexican President’s home state of Michoacán President Felipe Calderon sent more than 5,500 more troops and federal police to protect, defend and support federal forces and other Mexican law enforcement personal who have taken a stand against the Mexican Drug Cartel known as La Familia.  According to authorities 16 police officers and a unknown number of Mexican solders have been slain recently by the Cartels  well coordinated, organized and well armed paramilitary . Federal authorities hold the La Familia Mexican drug cartel responsible for those slayings.

The troops will be used to confront the Mexican drug cartel La Familia in Michoacán which has become the latest focus point of the Mexican Governments war on drugs.

The number of violent deaths related to the Mexican Governments war on drugs broke a record in that country recently. In a recent 24 hour period there were 53 deaths registered in the states of Michoacán, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Guanajuato, Sinaloa, Durango, Guerrero, Mexico and Jalisco. Among them the mayor of Namiquipa, who had been threatened previously. On the Highway Siglo XXI in Michoacán the remains of three executed men were found.  Hours earlier a police car was machine-gunned with one agent killed.

There were more violent deaths registered in the country of Mexico during this month’s up-tick in death and violence than during a comparable period in both war torn countries of Iran and Afghanistan combined.

The Mexican casualties were noted during shootouts, ambushes, armed encounters and the discovery of abandoned corpses. According to the daily “El Universal” Mexico’s largest newspaper this was the most violent day this year, surpassing by one death the total on February 15.  Among the victims reported were the Federal Police commander and three agents from different agencies.

The rage of “La Familia in the state of Michoacána” seemed to be triggered after the capture of Arnoldo Rueda, one of the leaders of the crime organization “La Familia,” a major four-day offensive against the federal forces was unleashed by the cartel in the states of Michoacán, Guerrero and Guanajuato.  In all, 21 violent attacks were carried out against federal authorities and installations, leaving 16 agents dead, 12 of their bodies found tossed in a pile near La Huacana, Michoacán.  Moments before their executions, the 12 had been videotaped by their assassins.  After the attacks, a subject identifying himself as Servando Gomez Martinez, who is considered one of the leaders of La Familia, had requested a “pact” with the federal government.  The government’s response was to send in more troops – Army, Navy and Federal Police.  The response has been met with disapproval from the state officials complaining that the federal authorities had not coordinated with them.

La Familia Michoacana emerged in the 1990s as a conservative paramilitary group designed to insulate the state from the large drug cartels, said Bruce Bagley, a professor at the University of Miami and expert on drug trafficking.

But over the years, the group evolved into a drug trafficking operation itself, forging strategic alliances with warring cartels to raise its own profile.

This week’s violence solidifies the cartel as a major and violent player in Mexico’s drug wars, Bagley said.

“This represents the third evolution of the Familia Michoacana,” he said.

Reprisals from drug cartels following major arrests have been reported before, but the intensity of these attacks in Michoacan are unprecedented.

They will not intimidate the Federal Government according to President Felipe Calderon while expressing his condolences to the families of the members of the federal forces who have lost their lives in the fight for security and made it clear that “the criminals will not succeed in intimidating the federal government. “In this fight we will not give up not hesitate,” the president reported; and emphasized that not one step back would be taken in this matter and day after day the federal government would continue delivering powerful blows to the organized crime gangs. He affirmed that the federal government would remain firm in its anticrime effort. 

“We must persevere in the fight for the security and liberty of Mexico,” he reassured.  He pointed out that the capture of dangerous organized crime leaders in the last month is seriously affecting their operations.

Additionally, chaos has been generated among the ranks of the criminal gangs, “from there the violent and desperate reaction we have seen in these days,” he pointed out.  He recalled that in recent days the federal forces have been the object of wily and cowardly attacks perpetrated by organized crime gangs, in which several members of said forces have lost their lives, especially young men.

Felipe Calderon Hinojosa expressed his “most sincere condolences to the families of these valiant and exemplary Mexicans who have fallen in performing their duty, who have fallen thinking that it is possible to build a more secure Mexico, and who have fallen fighting for the security of all of us.”

More federal agents whom were based in Morelia they too were deployed throughout the entire area. By land and air the 1,500 federal police sent by the Secretary of Public Safety (SSP) arrived in Morelia to reinforce the anti-crime operatives.

The arrival of the police agents in the capital includes armored trucks, at least ten helicopters and vehicles with tactical equipment.  The 1500 agents who arrived are in addition to the 1200 that were already deployed in the state by the Federal Police (PFP). And the 5,500 troops and federal police sent recently. The Mexican Federal Government in defending its response pointed out that the Mexican federal government’s increase in the number of enforcement personnel sent to Michoacán is due to the gravity of the attacks against federal agents in the state.  The federal government holds that the increase in its forces is “legitimate defense.”

Governor charges Army abuses in Michoacán while at the same time requesting respect for the federal authorities and demanding major cooperation with them in the operations taking place in his state of Michoacán, Governor Leonel Godoy Rangel told of a series of acts that point to alleged abuses brought on by federal forces. ”There are worrisome cases like the one on Saturday, June 20, when federal forces entered [state offices] without authority or forewarning,” he said. The governor went on to cite two other specific examples of excessive authority.  ”What is happening in Michoacán, in light of the evident decision not to coordinate with the state government, is not the indication of lack of government, but rather the indication of the occupation of a free and sovereign state.” he said.

In reply to complaints by Michoacán’s Governor Leonel Godoy, Mexico’s Secretary of Government, Fernando Gomez Mont, said that “the gravity of the situation required an immediate response” in order to protect federal forces who were “targets of the aggression” by organized crime. 

 

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Sources:

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO)

Governor Leonel Godoy

Mexico’s Secretary of Government, Fernando Gomez Mont

El Universal

FRONTERA

Mexican Army Officers

EL DIARIO DE COAHUILA

Michoacán Police

Notimex news agency

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