Mexican security forces announced Jan. 30 the arrest of a top leader of the New Generation drug cartel, based in the western state of Jalisco. Rubén Oseguera González AKA "El Menchito" is said to be second-in-command in the criminal organization led by his father, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes AKA "El Mencho," and is also known as "El Junior." He was arrested in a major operation that involved dozens of army troops in Zapopan, a city in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. There remains a 2 million peso ($150,000) price on the head of El Menchu, and media accounts said he narrowly escaped capture last year. The New Generation group is said to be allied with the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico's most powerful trafficking organization.
Vancouver-based IMPACT Silver Corp boasted in a press release this month of promising "second phase drill results" from the San Juan Project, located 150 meters north of its producing Noche Buena Mine and four kilometers southwest of its 500-tonne-per-day Guadalupe Production Center. These are all old mines that the company is now reviving in what it calls the "Royal Mines of Zacualpan Silver-Gold District" of central Mexico. (MarketWired, Jan. 7) But in a community assembly in November, campesinos from the local Nahua indigenous community of Zacualpan (Comala municipality, Colima state) voted to decalre their territory a mine-free zone. On Dec. 4, a delegation from the Indigenous Council for the Defense of the Territory of Zacualpan and Bios Iguana presented the decision to the Federal Agrarian Tribunal in Colima's state capital. Citing a threat to local water sources and the community's "right to consultation," the Indigenous Council pledged to resist any expansion of mining operations at the sites.
Nearly half a million were left without electricity for 15 hours after 18 substations were blown up Oct. 27 in a wave of coordinated attacks across Mexico's west-central state of Michoacán, the latest battleground in the country's relentless cartel wars. Six gasoline stations were also burned down near the state capital Morelia, in what authorities said was a terror campaign by the Knights Templar cartel. Gov. Fausto Vallejo Figueroa of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said the violence was set off by the Jalisco Cartel, based in the neighboring state of that name, seeking to "seize territory" controlled by the Knights Templars in Michoacán, and warned of a "great massacre" (matazón).
Mexico's most notorious kingpin, Rafael Caro Quintero, was released Aug. 9 from Puente Grande federal prison in Jalisco where he had been incarcerated for the past 28 years. He left the facility at dawn, several hours before the release order was made public. The First Appellate Tribunal in Guadalajara found in March that Caro Quintero was improperly tried for the 1985 torture-killing of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, and that charges should have been brought at the state rather than federal level. Federal prosecutors immediately appealed to the Supreme Justice Court of the Nation, which refused to rescind the lower court's decision. The Third Circuit Tribunal, also in Guadalajara, has now followed through by issuing Caro Quintero an amparo—a judicial order barring any federal action against him.
At least 13 people, including seven police officers, were killed and eight others wounded in three shootouts involving police and "armed commandos" on the border of Jalisco and Michoacán states in west-central Mexico Dec. 23. The first incident came when Michoacán state police responded to a report of a traffic accident in Briseñas municipality and were ambushed. Similar gunfights shortly followed in the nearby municipalities of Quitúpan and Ayotlán. The following day, bullets flew in the central plaza of Yurécuaro, Michoacán, in what authorities called a shootout between the Knights Templar and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel, leaving an unarmed bystander dead. Also on Christmas Eve, a group of armed men stormed the town of El Platanar de Los Ontiveros in the mountains of northwestern Sinaloa state, killing nine with assault weapons and dumping their bodies on a sports field. Authorities called that one a fight between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas. (AP, Dec. 26; AFP, Dec. 25; EFE, Dec. 24; Milenio, Dec. 23)
As Mexico has aggressively militarized its "drug war" over the past years, the nation's capital has been an exception, with authorities reluctant to send soliders to patrol the seat of federal power—until now. Over 1,000 army troops have been mobilized to the streets of Nezahualcóyotl, a suburb of Mexico City, just south of the Federal District line in México state, which has seen a dramatic increase of violence in the past weeks. The México state Prosecutor General says 119 assassinations have been registered so far this year, mostly in Nezahualcóyotl. The decision to send in army troops—under a program dubbed "Operation Neza"—was apparently sparked by the Sept. 16 stabbing death of México state lawmaker Jaime Serrano Cedillo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Although subsequent reports have indicated he was killed by his wife in a domestic dispute, Serrano was the second PRI politician killed in as many days last week. On Sept. 15, Eduardo Castro Luque, newly elected to the Sonora state legislature, was shot full of nine bullets in front of his home in Ciudad Obregón. The twin slayings came when the country was on high alert for Independence Day celebrations, with extra troops deployed to conflicted states to head off terror attacks on the festivities. The PRI, a once-entrenched political machine, returns to power after 12 years in opposition, when president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto takes office in December. (LAT, AP, Sept. 21; WSJ, El País, Spain, Sept. 20; EFE, AP, La Jornada, Sept. 15)