The border city of Ciudad Juárez, abutting El Paso, Texas, ordered the reinforcement of six police stations after a series of cartel attacks left nine officers injured.
Secretary of Public Security (SSPM) of Ciudad Juárez Ricardo Realivázquez ordered the reinforcements after the attacks last Thursday. In one, cartel gunmen assaulted the residence of a police commander– injuring four bodyguards. The home was previously targeted in October 2018. The Oriente and Poniente Stations were also attacked. These skirmishes resulted in the issuance of a security alert by the United States Consulate General in Juárez, stating: “Authorities believe that members of organized criminal groups are carrying out these attacks, which are expected to continue.” The January 18 alert also notes, “U.S. government personnel have been advised to avoid police stations and other law enforcement facilities in both cities to the extent possible until further notice.”
The reinforcements include more personnel and perimeter security measures at the Centro, Poniente, Sur, Universidad, Valle, and Oriente stations, according to local reporting.
The attacks are believed to be retaliation for the seizure of 22 kilograms of methamphetamine. An alignment forged by “La Línea” and “Los Mexicles” carried out the attacks, according to Ciudad Juárez Mayor Armando Cabada Alvídrez.
The street-level distribution of methamphetamine is generally blamed for the spike in cartel violence. “Los Mexicles” previously operated as the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel—a deadly rival of “La Linea” or El Nuevo Cártel de Juárez. At least two other attacks were carried out earlier last week, leaving two police officers dead, according to Mayor Cabada Alvídrez as reported by local media.
In December 2018, Juárez re-deployed joint police and military patrols to quell the rising violence. This involved elements of state, federal, and municipal police in conjunction with the Mexican Army. The patrols were initially triggered in late October after police suffered 10 attacks from cartel gunmen in less than one month–leaving two officers dead and several wounded.
Juárez closed out 2018 with 1,247 homicides—for a total of 88 per 100,000, according to Isabel Sanchez of Mesa de Seguridad y Justicia de Ciudad Juárez.
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 email@example.com.