Mexican Navy Infantrymen (La Marina) engaged five alleged cartel gunmen during a fierce firefight that involved hundreds of rounds fired. Local media reports indicate grenades were used and all five gunmen were killed. The battle occurred in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico.
The violence occurred on December 20, 2017, at approximately 3:00 am local time when Navy personnel conducted a tactical raid on a residence based on intelligence they had developed. The local media reports indicated that the gunfire initially started during a car chase, but this version was later corrected by a press release from the Secretary of the Navy—6th Naval Zone.
The press release indicated that when Navy personnel attempted to initiate contact with the occupants of the residence, the personnel immediately came under intense gunfire from inside the house. The Navy personnel were able to repel the gunfire. The gun battle lasted approximately 40-minutes.
After the five gunmen were killed, the area was cordoned off to allow for investigators to process the crime scene.
This military action comes at a time when the newly elected governor of the state of Nayarit, Antonio Echeverría García, has publicly acknowledged that the State does not have the capacity to confront the violence brought on by warring drug cartels. During a recent press conference with local media, the governor said that state and municipal police are outgunned by heavily armed cartels and he welcomed the use of military personnel to provide security during the crisis being experienced in his state.
Recently, Mexico’s Congress approved the Law of Internal Security which provides the military with more defined rules and solidifies its role in the fight against violent drug cartels. President Enrique Peña Nieto has indicated he will sign the legislation once it has been reviewed and approved by the Supreme Court, Mexico’s El Universal media reported
Breitbart Texas recently spoke with several retired Mexican military generals on the condition of anonymity who are now working as state public security directors. They each related that using the military is necessary for many locations due to the inability of civilian police forces to effectively take on sophisticated and heavily armed drug cartels. The negative, they conveyed, is that the military is not equipped to conduct police investigations and the military role is totally different than that of a civilian police force. Common differences cited are rules of engagement and processing crime scenes for prosecutorial purposes.
The current violence being experienced in Tepic is believed to be a turf war between Los Mazatlecos and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación. Breitbart Texas recently reported on the deployment of military assets to Tepic to quell cartel violence as well as a recent discovery of three bodies found hanged from an overpass.
According to data from the Executive Secretary of the National Public Security System, a Mexican government agency charged with tracking violence, between January and October 2016, 33 homicides were reported in Nayarit, while in the same period of 2017, the figure reached 165 cases.
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.)