Reports indicate that cartel gunmen in the Mexican state of Guerrero killed 22 security elements consisting of 17 police officers from various agencies and five army personnel during the first five months of 2017. Guerrero is located in southwest Mexico and includes the coastal resort cities of Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo.
The State Police suffered the most losses with a total of nine personnel killed, local news reports indicate. They are followed by the Municipal police from various communities and the Army with five of their members murdered. Cartel members also killed three ministerial investigative police officers.
Guerrero continues as one of Mexico’s most dangerous states. Statistics compiled by the federal government report 2,318 homicides in 2017. The non-stop violence has been primarily attributed to infighting between the multiple criminal 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.
From 2017 until May 31 of this year, police corporations came under armed attacks 11 times while working in the Costa Grande region. According to a recent report from Grupo de Coordinación Guerrero–the primary criminal groups operating in that region are La Familia Michoacana, Guardia Guerrerense, Sangre Nueva Guerrerense, and Los Viagras y Los Cornudos. Other criminal groups operating throughout the state are Los Rojos de Chilpancingo, Los Ardillos, Gente Nueva, Los Tequileros, Cártel del Sur, Cártel Independiente de Acapulco, La Barredora, Cártel del Pacífico, Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, and the Knights Templar — among others.
In the most recent killings of security personnel in the state, cartel gunmen killed the regional commander for the Ministerial Police, Wenceslao Zempoalteca Elizalde in Alpoyeca during an armed confrontation. The commander’s murder occurred during an operation to capture the person involved in the May 21 killing of a federal elections official.
On April 30, the Operational Director of Public Security of Chilapa, Isidro Casarrubias Tlatempa, and a policeman accompanying him, were believed to have been kidnapped. Officials later found them dismembered wrapped in plastic bags inside a vehicle in Chilpancingo.
In another case, six state policemen were gunned down during an ambush on April 17 in Las Mesillas which was reported by Breitbart Texas. In this shocking incident, cartel gunmen finished off the police officers with kill shots while videotaping the killing.
On March 3, the commander of the Ministerial Investigative Police, Héctor de la Rosa Moreno, was murdered in Acapulco at least by two gunmen. He was off duty, recuperating from a previous injury.
On February 24, a commander of the municipal police was gunned down by cartel gunmen during a police operation in colonia Emiliano Zapata in Acapulco.
On January 28, member of the Mexican Army’s 27 Infantry Battalion based in Iguala was found tortured, with his feet and hands bound, and covered with a blanket. He had been executed by gunfire in the municipality of Tepecoacuilco.
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.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org