A deadly April in Chihuahua has so far left six police officers dead and eight wounded in at least seven attacks.
The events required the State to deploy additional personnel to affected areas to quell cartel violence, according to local media.
On April 14, three separate attacks were recorded with the first occurring at 8:30 am in Valle de Zaragoza. Two ministerial police commanders of the State Attorney General’s Office (PGE) were ambushed on the Parral-Chihuahua highway while heading to training exercises. The two victims, identified as Commander Salvador Bárcenas Saavedra and Deputy Commander Ricardo Ruvalcaba González, were both assigned to the municipality of Parral.
According to media reports, the two police commanders attempted to repel the attack then flee but were outnumbered. During an ensuing chase, the two were murdered and their police vehicle torched.
The second attack occurred in Jiménez where a convoy of state police searching for the gunmen responsible for the earlier attack was shot at on the Parral-Jiménez highway. The head of security for State Security Commissioner Óscar Aparicio Avendaño was wounded.
The third event occurred in Álvaro Obregón in the municipality of Cuauhtémoc when cartel gunmen attacked municipal police officers outside the Pollo Bronco Restaurant. Local media reported that one officer was wounded a second died from his injuries. A cell phone video was later posted online, capturing the aftermath of the attack with one wounded police officer lying in the street and what appeared to be a long rifle abandoned several feet from him. The second officer appeared next to a marked police vehicle which had been parked in front of the restaurant.
Earlier in the week on April 9, ministerial police commander Rodrigo Ibarra Hernández and agent Omar Alejandro Sotelo Álvarez of Ojinaga were ambushed and killed at a food stand near kilometer 25 of the Chihuahua-Aldama highway as reported by the Heraldo.
On Saturday, April 7, cartel gunmen attacked the security detail of Governor Javier Corral, who was standing post outside a golf course in Chihuahua. A total of three were wounded.
On April 4, police protecting the state attorney general were attacked outside his residence, resulting in the death of one officer and wounding another.
On April 2, two state police were wounded after conducting a traffic stop when the driver opened fire on them. The driver and passenger were later arrested, as reported in La Opcion.
According to government sources, the attacks against law and security enforcement officers are being attributed “La Línea,” the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel which is in a turf war against the Sinaloa Cartel and affiliated gangs.
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.)