Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador authorized the deployment of a coordinated security operation with the military, state, and municipal police along the Guatemalan border to fight the increase in violent crime coinciding with the arrival of several caravans since October 2018. “Operativo Costa Chiapas” is slated to last at least a month and will mobilize personnel by sea, air, and land.
The southern Mexican border state of Chiapas is seeing a dramatic increase in Central American gang violence related to the influx of MS-13 and Barrio 18 members in addition to other groups from Central America engaged in drug trafficking, human smuggling, business extortion, and turf warfare, according to local reporting. Tapachula and Suchiate are the cities most affected by the waves of migrant caravans and similar movements.
On Monday, four men identified Guatemalans were reportedly gunned down by two hitmen on a motorcycle at a street-side seafood restaurant in downtown Suchiate.
Security video released on social media shows the moments a motorcycle arrives in front of the restaurant and the rear passenger, armed with a rifle, jumps off toward the victims. The driver of the motorcycle can be seen to position himself at the curb and extend his right arm. The quadruple homicide is believed related to rival street narcotics gangs MS-13 and Barrio 18, according to Breitbart law enforcement sources. Both gangs are operational throughout Chiapas.
Graphic cell phone video released on social and local media captures the moment after the shooting.
— PortavozChiapas (@PortavozChiapas) March 5, 2019
Three of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene with a fourth reportedly dying en route to hospital.
The new deployment of additional security personnel comes as Mexican citizens in the region demand official action due to the rise of crime blamed on the arrival of Central American migrant caravans. Some criminal actors allegedly embedded with the caravans and are violating laws in the southern state. Tapachula Mayor Óscar Gurría Penagos recently said, “many of those Central Americans were not mere immigrants, but criminals who are ravaging the region, affecting tourism and businesses.”
Breitbart News recently reported on the arrests of a suspected MS-13 members for the murders of two municipal police officers in Tapachula. Breitbart also reported on a team gunmen who opened fire on three trucks transporting caravan migrants.
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.