Cartel violence in the border state of Sonora continued Saturday afternoon and early Sunday as gunmen carried out a series of attacks which left five people dead, including two gunmen. The local uptick in violence has resulted in the deployment of 1,800 national guard personnel.
The first of the series of attacks occurred in Ciudad Obregón on Saturday afternoon when cartel gunmen in at least two vehicles began to pursue a white Chevrolet Silverado occupied by two adult males. The gunmen eventually opened fire in colonia Quinta Díaz, killing the two occupants, according to local reports. Breitbart News law enforcement sources say the gunmen fired more than 100 rifle rounds at the victims.
One of those killed was identified as Luis Mendoza, 23, the lead singer for a popular local band named “Los Ronaldos,” which played regional norteño music and recently began releasing “narcocorridos” or narco music. Narcocorridos are popular, yet controversial in both Mexico and the U.S. The modern folk songs are often about drug lords or those dedicated to the trade, which glorifies a violent criminal lifestyle. Amateur cell phone video began circulating on social media immediately after the attack.
The second attack occurred approximately 40 minutes later in colonia Constitución, when Francisco Aparicio, 35, was shot by gunmen as he was exiting a memorial service for an individual who was gunned down two days earlier. Aparicio was stuck numerous times and transported to a local hospital where he later died, according to local reports. The memorial service was for “Pépe Gangas,” who was gunned down earlier in the week.
According to Breitbart law enforcement sources, Aparicio appeared in an amateur cell phone video from operatives of “La Gente Nueva de Los Salazar,” which was released on social media showing armed individuals threatening to be ready for war. “La Gente Nueva” acts as the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel. Reports indicate the video was recorded in the southern section of Navajoa, Sonora. In the cell phone video, Aparicio is dressed in a short sleeve green shirt and body armor with a rifle.
The third attack occurred early Sunday morning when Cajeme municipal police in Ciudad Obregón attempted to stop a vehicle in Parque Industrial. The police immediately came under rifle fire from the occupants and a pursuit ensued. The gunmen’s vehicle eventually spun out of control and came to a stop and after the second exchange of fire. Both were killed inside the vehicle, local reports note.
Approximately 1,800 National Guard personnel began to arrive in Sonora last week. The guardsmen are tasked with supporting local, state, and Federal Police in cracking down on violence. The bloodshed is attributed to turf wars between rival cartels and regionally aligned drug gangs.
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.