Suspects in Deadly Mexican Cartel Attack Identified as Former Police, Military

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A former Mexican municipal police officer and two prior soldiers were identified as the cartel hitmen responsible for a deadly attack against active officers over the weekend in Chihuahua.

A string of attacks accounted for six dead and eight wounded in the line of duty, Breitbart Texas reported in the aftermath.

The attack, which occurred in Álvaro Obregón in the municipality of Cuauhtémoc, featured the ambush of municipal police officers outside the Pollo Bronco Restaurant. Officers were able to fight back, causing the gunmen to flee. The shootout left one officer dead and another wounded a series of two other attacks earlier in the day resulted in the fatalities of two police commanders and left an officer injured.

Because of the earlier bloodshed, a large police mobilization was ordered to locate the gunmen. Investigators were able to find the body of one of the attackers along a road that leads to the town of Coyachi. The corpse was identified as Édgar Vázquez Ralix, 24, a former member of the Mexican military from Veracruz. At a second location, in Cuauhtémoc, police found the body of Francisco Maya Balderrabano, 27, also a former member of the military.

Both deceased are believed shot during the gunfight with municipal police prior to fleeing. Investigators located a wounded gunman at the original scene, identified only as Ernesto Alonso CV, 38, who was transported to a local hospital but died of his wounds on Tuesday. Ernesto Alfonso aka, “El Cholo” was identified as a former Cuauhtémoc municipal police officer who resigned two years earlier and was known to have joined a criminal group, according to local media.

According to Director of State Police Óscar Aparicio Avendaño, the three attacks were preceded by the arrests of five members of the Sinaloa Cartel—Gente Nueva on the night of Friday, April 13, and the hanging of a narco-banner the following morning. According to a local media report, the message was left by the Juarez/La Linea Cartel and accuses the state police of collaborating with factions of the Sinaloa Cartel. Several hours after the banners appeared, the deadly attacks commenced.

A cell phone video captured 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.

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.)