Cartel gunmen in the Mexican border state of Sonora carried out two separate attacks within 30 minutes this past Saturday. The attacks left five dead, including two police officers and three civilians. The gunmen wounded an additional three police officers and a civilian during the two attacks.
The first attack occurred at approximately 3:50 p.m. in the municipality of Empalme in colonia Bellavista. Cartel gunmen riding on two motorcycles pulled up along a red sedan on Hilario Sánchez Rubio boulevard and opened fire, killing the three adult occupants, according to witnesses. The Empalme municipal police stopped the red sedan had earlier and searched the occupants. The police released them and within minutes they came under attack from cartel gunmen on motorcycles. An amateur cell phone video later released on social media documents the traffic stop by police just minutes before the attack.
Officials identified the three killed as two males and one female.
Approximately 30 minutes later, municipal police in the neighboring municipality in the tourist port city of Guaymas came under fire from cartel gunmen at a gas station. The members of the Tactical Operations Group were refueling their marked police truck when gunmen in two vehicles drove up and fired numerous rifle rounds. One officer later identified as José Ramón Arvizu Espinoza, 42 years old, died at the scene and four additional officers were transported to various hospitals. One officer later identified as Héctor Eduardo Rendón Ríos died later at a hospital in the state capital of Hermosillo. A gas station attendant later identified as Guillermo Guadalupe sustained a gunshot wound and was transported to a local hospital.
The El Rey gas station where the attack occurred is located in the north end of Guaymas in colonia Loma Linda on the international highway next to a Walmart. This location is frequented by many tourists and the expat community that lives in the popular tourist port. The state of Sonora which borders Arizona has witnessed a spike in cartel-related violence as reported by Breitbart’s Cartel Chronicles.
Last week, Breitbart reported on a series of cartel attacks in Guaymas that left three people dead and a police officer wounded during an attack at a police sub-station.
In October of 2018, Breitbart reported on the killing of five police officers in Guaymas during a cartel ambush. This attack included four members of the Tactical Operations Group and one unarmed member of the traffic police. The attack occurred after operatives of Los Salazar (Sinaloa Cartel) reportedly issued an order to retaliate against the Guaymas police. The attack came after police were captured on cell phone video handing Los Salazar operatives who had been arrested earlier over to a rival criminal group and were later presumably murdered. The order and a spike in cartel-related violence triggered a security alert. Last week, Daniel Morales Pardini, the comptroller for the city of Guaymas and former chief of police was gunned down by cartel gunmen while traveling in the city He served as chief of police during the killing of the five officers in Guaymas.
Also, just before Easter, a police commander in Guaymas survived a cartel attack and in February, the chief of San Carlos Bay in Guaymas was murdered by cartel gunmen. Last week, a cell phone video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfyJ5UNm4Vw of operatives of “La Gente Nueva de Los Salazar” was released on social media showing armed individuals threatening to be ready for war–“La Gente Nueva” act as the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel, reports indicate that the video was recorded in the southern section of the state of Sonora.
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.)