Two suspected cartel gunmen dressed in fake police uniforms were found murdered in a cloned police vehicle in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.
Authorities reported that they received a call around 11 pm on January 28 about two uniformed police officers sitting dead inside a municipal police vehicle in Chilpancingo, according to a statement made by public security spokesperson Roberto Alvarez.
Guerrero state police and the Mexican army responded to the reported location and observed a Dodge Ram truck with municipal police markings, light bars, and an identification number. Upon further inspection, it was determined that the truck was not official property and was reported stolen out of Mexico City. The truck was cloned to appear like a government vehicle. The uniforms were also faked but with striking similarities to those worn by the Chilpancingo municipal police.
This discovery comes during the same month that the entire 110-man municipal police force in Chilpancingo was suspended by federal officials amid non-stop cartel violence. The move was in response to the disappearance of at least seven people at the end of December, which involved accusations that the police were implicated in a murder and kidnapping operation at the behest of drug cartels.
The two victims were found with four narco-message cards on their bodies signed by the Cártel del Sur, who warned of an uptick of violence in Guerrero and the alleged collusion between officials and rival cartels.
Guerrero is one of Mexico’s most dangerous states which registered 2,318 homicides in 2017, according to statistics compiled by the federal government. The non-stop violence has been primarily attributed to infighting between the multiple organizations throughout the state. Many of these entities were once consolidated cartels but with the capture or killing of their respective leaders, a fragmentation occurred.
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.)