A series of five cartel attacks on state ministerial and municipal police occurred in less than 24 hours in Chihuahua last week, beginning after midnight on April 19.
The attacks left two state police wounded and resulted in the arrest of numerous suspects and the seizure of weapons and vehicles. Two of the attacks were captured by security cameras, according to local media.
The first attack occurred in Chihuahua after 12am in colonia Atenas, where witnesses observed three gunmen armed with long rifles fire repeatedly at an unoccupied police vehicle parked in front of the residence of a ministerial police supervisor. Investigators later recovered over 100 .223 round shell casings and reported no injuries.
The second attack, which was captured by security cameras, occurred at approximately 8am in colonia Magisterial, where a state police commander was able to repel gunfire from several cartel hitmen in a white Volkswagen. The commander got out of his truck and opened fire, forcing them to flee. Two of four gunmen were later captured with two long rifles and a handgun, according to the state attorney general’s office. The pair was later identified as members of Los Aztecas, the armed wing of La Linea and the Nuevo Cartel de Juarez.
The third attack occurred at 5:30pm when a commander of the state police in charge of the fugitive unit came under fire while driving in Ciudad Juarez where former ministerial agent Arturo Ledezma Porras and an administrative assistant were killed in March 2018.
The fourth attack occurred at 8:11pm as elements of the state police stopped at a gas station in Ciudad Juarez, according to local media.
Security cameras from the gas station captured the attack as two police officers are wounded and a third was able to return fire.
The fifth attack occurred in Chihuahua when unknown gunmen shot the unoccupied police vehicle of a state supervisor in front of his residence. Over 100 rounds were fired with no reported injuries.
The state public security director named Joel Rene Flores aka “Renato,” a member of Los Aztecas, as the man responsible for the most current attacks on police. The director said that Flores, who is wanted by local authorities, has at least 20 hitmen working for him.
At least 13 attacks on state police and ministerial agents occurred throughout Chihuahua in April–resulting in six police officers killed and eight wounded.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org