At least five suspected cartel gunmen were captured in Baja California Sur on January 29 after firing upon and attempting to flee Mexican Marines and local police.
The violent confrontation occurred at approximately 4:30 pm in the popular tourist spot of La Paz after officers attempted to stop a vehicle full of gunmen. The governor of Baja California Sur, Carlos Mendoza Davis, confirmed the circumstances during a press conference with local media outlets.
The governor reported that five suspects were captured after they retreated into a residence and exchanged gunfire with security personnel for approximately 30 minutes before they surrendered. Numerous high-powered rifles, handguns, and ammo were recovered by investigators of the state attorney general’s office with support from the Marines.
The armed confrontation was broadcast live on local television, which captured the arrival of supporting military elements to provide assistance while fully automatic gunfire could be heard in the background. Civilian footage also surfaced on YouTube.
La Paz State Attorney General Daniel de la Rosa Anaya confirmed that among the detainees is Henry Froylán Rojas Ramirez, aka, “El Zopilote”, who escaped from San Jose del Cabo state prison in September 2017. Rojas Ramirez was serving a sentence for since 2014 and was considered one of the regional leaders of the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templars Cartel) prior to prison. According to law enforcement sources, Rojas Ramirez is a former member of the Mexican armed forces and is originally from Michoacán.
In recent months, the once quiet area around Baja California has seen an escalation of cartel violence, triggering the deployment of military forces to take over public security duties, Breitbart Texas reported. The violence is linked to a fight for control by the Sinaloa Cartel and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).
“Los Guzmanes” is a cell working for the Sinaloa Cartel that is controlled by the relatives of jailed leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. “Los Tegoripeños” appears to be an allied regional unit. The Tegoripeños surfaced in early November when narco-messages appeared in La Paz and Los Cabos, warning the governor and law enforcement agencies to align with them, Mexico’s SDP reported.
Breitbart Texas reported in December that gunmen hung the bodies of six men from three overpasses and left narco-messages in the tourist hotspots of La Paz and Cabo in Baja California Sur.
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.)