Mexican Border State Police Director Ambushed by Cartel Gunmen

Sonora state police man a roadblock days after a gunbattle between police and a drug cartel assault force that overran a town last May 16 near the Arizona border that left 23 dead, including five police officers in the town of Cananea, Mexico, Friday May 18, 2007. The nation's top …
AP File Photo/Oman Nevarez

A police director and his bodyguards in Sonora were ambushed by a team of cartel gunmen while patrolling the streets of Ciudad Obregón Tuesday. The incident left a bodyguard dead and the director seriously wounded.

The operations director for public security in Cajemé remains in serious condition after being ambushed by a team of gunmen, according to local media reports. The director, identified as José Gonzalo Villaseñor, was patrolling in an official duty vehicle at approximately 5:20 pm with two bodyguards in colonia Municipio Libre, located in Ciudad Obregón, when they were attacked by several men traveling in a grey Chevrolet SUV. After the gunmen opened fire causing the patrol to stop, several gunmen dismounted and walked up to the patrol vehicle to direct additional fire. The gunmen, armed with multiple rifles, ran back to their SUV and fled, according to witness accounts. The director’s two bodyguards were identified as Óscar Alán “N,” 29, who was uninjured, and Mauricio García Cortez who eventually died.

According to media reports, the director and his unharmed bodyguard were transported to a hospital. During the confusion, Mauricio García Cortez was left behind in the bullet-riddled patrol vehicle on the belief that he was already dead. Amateur video on social media later showed a badly wounded officer García Cortez still alive and being helped by citizens. He later succumbed to his wounds.

Investigators of the state attorney general’s office reportedly recovered 105 spent shell casings at the scene and is tasked with identifying the gunmen. One motive being investigated relates to a series of arrests against criminals connected to organized crime. The director was sworn into his post in February.

Breitbart News is covering a recent wave of attacks on police in Sonora, which shares a border with Arizona and is a key region for cartel drug and human smuggling activities. Earlier this month, a narcotics police commander in Hermosillo was assassinated as he drove his duty SUV along a local street. Just before Easter, the commander of the tourist police in Guaymas survived a cartel attack. In February, cartel gunmen murdered a chief from a small town that borders the popular tourist port of San Carlos Bay in Guaymas. He was gunned down after leaving a downtown meeting. In October 2018, five police officers were murdered during two separate attacks also in Guaymas. Most recently in the month of April, a police commander in the state capital of Hermosillo was assassinated by cartel gunmen as he drove a personal vehicle with his two teenage sons in tow.

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


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