Mexico Intelligence News Summary


Mexico Intelligence News Summary

Executive Summary

Most measures of public safety indicate that January levels of insecurity were somewhat elevated when compared to the previous three months. For example, attacks on governmental authorities and street battles were relatively high this month. Also, the number of victims whose remains were deposited en masse was higher this month.

 

As an indication of recent trends in the number of attacks against governmental authorities, recent data published by the Causa en Común organization indicates that 554 police officers were killed across Mexico in 2020. This figure is up from the 446 killed in 2019 and the 452 killed in 2018. Approximate 50% of these were municipal officers, 42% were state officers, and the remainder were members of the Guardia Nacional. With regard to January 2021, there were 37 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during the month. The number of incidents is higher than in December, but it closely matches the average for the previous six months. Of these, there were three assassinations of current or former political leaders.

 

At least 21 police officers or military personnel were killed this month, a figure that is similar to the previous four months. Overall, there were five attacks on army patrols during January. This figure is the highest since August 2020.

 

Mexican authorities seized weapons and munitions at three sites in Guanajuato, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. Numerous rifles, body armor, armored vehicles, and two Barrett 50-caliber sniper rifles were seized following a battle in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Several fragmentation grenades, as well as Molotov cocktails, were seized following a battle in Villagrán, Guanajuato. Several homemade armored vehicles (frequently called monstruos) and weapons were seized in Los Aldamas, Nuevo Léon. Authorities also seized a cloned army pickup in Díaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas. Another Barrett 50-caliber rifle was seized following a battle in southern Michoacán.

 

During January, there were 48 battles between authorities and sicarios or between rival criminal organizations. This number is the highest since January 2020. They occurred across 14 states, which is the highest since March 2020.

 

According to the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP), the number of felony homicides reported during December was 2251. The data for January is not yet available, but it will likely come out near the previous two months. Many of the victims were those who had been kidnapped and murdered.

 

Over the last few months, there has been a slight decline in fatalities associated with attacks on public venues. This month 48 people were killed in 19 separate attacks across eight states (Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Veracruz). The number of incidents was similar to the previous two months, but the number of victims was considerably higher than the monthly average for 2020.

 

There were 12 extortion-related incidents that resulted in fatalities this month, resulting in 14 fatalities. The number of incidents is the lowest since July 2020. These incidents occurred in five states; Edomex, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nuevo León, and Veracruz (7 incidents). The victims were the owners, employees, or patrons of eateries, bars, small stores, and repair shops. 

 

Mexican authorities reported the disruption of two kidnapping rings this month, a figure that is slightly lower than the previous several months, but it is still on par with the monthly average for 2020. These groups were operating in Veracruz. Kidnap victims were also rescued in several additional incidents.

 

Armed robbery was widespread this month. Trucks transporting cargo were robbed in several states. In one incident, apparent truck hijackers fired on elements of the Guardia Nacional in San José Cuyachapa, Puebla. A battle also erupted between apparent train robbers and the police in Acultzingo, Veracruz. Authorities discovered that at least 40 spikes had been removed from the track to facilitate a train derailment. A few weeks later, another battle occurred between train robbers and the police in the same city. Numerous stores, businesses, and banks were robbed across several states, mostly in Veracruz. Perhaps, more importantly, bank customers continue to be robbed with high frequency. These incidents occurred in Oaxaca and Veracruz (at least seven incidents reported). ATMs were also robbed in Querétaro and Veracruz.

 

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Executive Summary

The most widely-reported security incident in December was the assassination of Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, who was a former governor of Jalisco. An assailant executed him in a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. There is increasing concern about a potential increase in political assassinations as we approach the June 6 elections. On that day, 15 governorships and almost 2000 municipios (municipalities) will be up for grabs. It is well recognized that organized crime groups have always supported candidates they can influence and frequently attack those who will not comply with their demands. Gubernatorial elections will be held in Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Sonora, Campeche, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Tlaxcala, and Zacatecas. With the possible exception of Campeche and Tlaxcala, each of these states are being hotly contested by rival cartels, most notably between the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) and other groups. Therefore, we expect an expansion in political assassinations this spring, especially for office-seekers at the municipal level.

 

There were at least 27 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during December. This figure is the lowest since September 2014. At least 12 soldiers or police officers were killed in attacks this month. Two army patrols were attacked in Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Gunmen attacked two patrols of the Guardia Nacional in Guanajuato and Nuevo Léon. There were four assaults on state police patrols in Tamaulipas, Veracruz (2 attacks), and Zacatecas. Three state police officers were injured in an attack in Jerez, Zacatecas. A police officer was injured when gunmen fired at a state police helicopter during a battle near Amacuzac, Morelos. A municipal police officer was killed during an attack on his patrol in Morelos. There were also seven additional fatal attacks on authorities across nine states. Attacks against authorities occurred across ten states. The states impacted this month were Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas.

 

There were 37 street battles reported during December. This figure is slightly lower than the monthly average of 2020. These incidents occurred in 11 states (Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). The number of states impacted is similar to the previous eight months.

 

Overland travel in many rural areas of Mexico should be considered hazardous. As is the case every month, there were numerous reports of assaults, robberies, and kidnappings occurring along highways this month.

 

At least 41 people were killed in 23 different attacks on civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, small businesses, shopping areas, a funeral, and one person was killed, and four were injured in an attack on an alcohol rehab center in Poza Rica, Veracruz.

 

Attacks on journalists and the media continued this month as well. In one case, a reporter was gunned down in Jerez, Zacatecas. He had frequently reported on violence in the area. A kidnapped reporter was later rescued by state police in Poza Rica, Veracruz. Furthermore, the director of the Derechos Humanos, Población y Migración recently reported that 19 journalists were murdered in 2020 compared to 17 killed in 2019.

 

Vigilantism continues to expand in the central and southern portions of the country. Residents who are frustrated with weak law enforcement in the face of rising crime rates are increasingly enforcing vigilante "justice" on individuals accused of various crimes, often with fatal consequences. These incidents periodically flair-up, as was the case for December.

 

There were 21 cases of fatal attacks related to extortion operations during December, resulting in 32 fatalities. This is the highest number since August 2018. These incidents occurred in Guanajuato (6 incidents), Guerrero, Mexico City, Michoacán, Oaxaca, and Veracruz (7 incidents). The owners, employees, patrons of several small stores, barbershops, bars, a used car dealership, and a tortillería were targeted during these incidents.

 

During December, authorities reported the disruption of three kidnapping operations. These operations were located in Morelos, Oaxaca, and Veracruz. In addition to these operations, there were several reports of police rescues of kidnap victims.

 

The widespread availability of firearms and the overall deterioration in the effectiveness of law enforcement have facilitated a marked increase in armed robbery.

 

Please feel free to contact us if there are any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

 

Executive Summary

 

There was a slight improvement in one measure of public safety this month when compared to October. The number of fatalities in attacks on public venues was down when compared to the previous month. The number of attacks directed at governmental authorities is on par with most months of 2020 but higher than the previous two months. That said, the overall levels of violence continued to be elevated across most areas of the country. In particular, Guanajuato continues to be plagued by extremely high levels of violence. The state experienced 2775 felony homicides in 2019, and another 2844 have already occurred this year. These figures exceed all other states in the country.

 

There were at least 44 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during November. This figure is higher than the relatively low numbers for September and October. Of particular significance was the relatively high number of assassinations. There were seven such incidents reported in November. This is the highest number since April. There were also several incidents in which assailants either attempted to assassinate political leaders or fired on their residences or vehicles. According to the Causa en Común organization, at least 464 police officers have been murdered in the first ten months of 2020. This figure already exceeds the number for all of 2019, as well as that of 2018. Two military patrols were attacked this month. Both of these incidents occurred in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Two Guardia Nacional patrols were attacked in Hidalgo and Tamaulipas. Eight state police patrols were attacked in Chihuahua, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz (3 incidents). There were also 16 additional fatal attacks on authorities across six states.

 

There were 35 street battles reported during November. This figure is higher than that of October but still lower than the monthly average for 2020. These incidents occurred in ten states, which matches October. The states impacted were Chihuahua, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Querétaro, Oaxaca, Puebla Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. 

 

Overland travel in many rural areas of Mexico should be considered hazardous. There are continued reports of armed robberies and other attacks along highways in Puebla, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.

 

The Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) reported 2406 felony homicides during October, which is about 5% higher than September, but still on par with the average of the last 12 months. Data for November will be available later this month. Organized crime groups continue to attack people in ostensibly civilian venues such as restaurants, bars, shopping areas, funerals, and other social events. There have been more than 987 intentional attacks on the patrons of such businesses across Mexico in the last three years, resulting in the deaths of at least 2000 people. In these attacks, gunmen typically open fire with the intention of killing as many patrons as possible, sometimes using fragmentation grenades in the attacks.  

 

There were 13 cases of fatal attacks related to extortion operations during November, resulting in 19 fatalities. The number of attacks and the number of victims are higher than in most months of 2020. These incidents occurred in Guanajuato (3 incidents), Oaxaca, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, and Veracruz (6 incidents). During November, authorities reported the disruption of three kidnapping operations in Veracruz. This figure is slightly lower than the average for 2020.

 

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Executive Summary

There was a decline in the number of attacks on governmental authorities and major street battles reported during October. Official crime data through September also indicates little change since July in several key measures such as reported extortions and total reported robberies. The number of homicides has also dropped when compared to its most recent peak in March. Each of these measures could signify somewhat good news about public safety across Mexico. However, there has been an increase in the number of fatal attacks attributed to extortion operations, especially in Guanajuato. There has also been an expansion of violence across several states, which had been less impacted until recently. Of particular concern is the significant uptick in violence in San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas.

 

There were 32 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported by the media during October. This figure is lower than the monthly average for 2019. Of these, two were assassinations of public officials or political party/union leaders. Attacks on governmental authorities occurred across 16 states (Baja California, Chiapas, Colima, Durango, Edomex, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). The number of states impacted is on par with the monthly average for 2020. 

 

Street battles between sicarios of rival organizations and Mexican authorities and cartel gunmen occurred across ten states (Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). There were 32 such battles reported by the media this month, with a slight majority occurring in Veracruz.

 

In general terms, Mexico continues to be plagued by extremely high levels of violent crime, including homicide. Thus far, there has been a total of 32,303 homicides from January through September of this year. More than 21,800 of these were classified as felony homicides, and the majority of these are the direct result of organized crime. That said, there was a declining number of felony homicides reported in September, and it is likely the figure for October will be similar.  

 

Criminal groups continue to attack civilians in public venues without regard to who will be killed or maimed, including children. There were 23 such attacks resulting in 57 fatalities during October. These incidents occurred across Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Mexico City, Morelos, Nuevo León, Quintana Roo, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas. This was the second-highest number of fatalities since August 2019.

 

There were at least 15 fatal extortion-related attacks reported by the media during October, resulting in 27 fatalities. This is the highest number of incidents reported since April 2019 and the highest number of fatalities for more than three years. These incidents occurred in Edomex, Guanajuato (7 incidents), Nuevo León, and Veracruz (6 incidents). These included attacks on owners, employees, or patrons in several small stores, repair shops, and market areas. There were also several non-fatal incidents related to extortion.

 

Please contact us directly with any questions or concerns.

Executive Summary

 

September presented a mixed bag with regard to measures of public safety. The number of reported attacks against governmental authorities declined, while the number of battles increased somewhat. Attacks on civilians in public venues climbed, and crime data from the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP) indicates an upward trend in felony homicides over the last few months; with September likely it similar levels. The reported number of armed robberies has been on the rise since April, although it declined slightly in August. Data about extortion is less conclusive but suggests a slight increase over the last few months. The number of kidnapping incidents reported by media across the country has also surged, mostly in Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. As always, hundreds of people were kidnapped and murdered. In most cases, the victims were individuals associated with drug sales, as most of the violence in Mexico can be attributed to conflict between major criminal organizations across the country.

 

There were 31 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported this month. This is the lowest number of attacks on authorities since May 2017.  Nevertheless, there were five assassinations during September. At least 21 police officers or military personnel were killed this month, a figure which is lower than the monthly average for 2020.  The attacks on governmental authorities occurred across 16 states (Chihuahua, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas). The number of states impacted was higher than August, but still on par with most months of 2019. The vast majority of these incidents occurred in Guanajuato.

 

Mexican authorities arrested five key leaders of the major criminal organizations this month. One cartel leader was also killed by rivals. Combined, these numbers are on par with most months of 2020.

 

During September, there were 40 battles between authorities and sicarios, or between rival criminal organizations. This number is the second-highest since March. The number of states impacted was similar to the average for 2020. These incidents occurred across 12 states (Baja California, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Michoacán, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). Some of these battles resulted in high numbers of causalities, including bystanders.

 

According to the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP), the number of felony homicides reported during July was 2457, while August rose to 2539. The data for September is not yet available, but it will likely be similar to the previous two months. The vast majority of victims were those who had been kidnapped and murdered.

 

Over the last few months, there has been a slight increase in fatalities associated with attacks on public venues. This month 56 people were killed in 16 separate attacks across seven states. The number of fatalities was the second-highest since August 2019. The number of incidents was similar to the monthly average for 2020.

 

There were 14 extortion-related incidents that resulted in 26 fatalities this month. This is the second-highest number of incidents since October 2019, and it is the highest number of fatalities since June. More troubling is the fact that the last four months have been the highest of any month since 2017.

 

Mexican authorities reported the disruption of two kidnapping rings this month; a figure which is just one higher than August, but it is still on par with the last 12 months.

 

End

 

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