For the past week, members of Ciudad Juárez‘s 2,000-strong police force have been staying in hotel and safe-houses supplied by the city government in response to threats from narco-gangs to kill a police officer every day. The officers have been ordered to stay away from their homes for three months, and supplying them with housing will cost the city some $2 million. Mayor Hector Murguia announced the move in response to a demand from the “New Generation” cartel that police chief Julian Leyzoala step down—and a pledge to murder a member of his force each day until he does so. A total of 11 officers have already been killed this year.
The threats were communicated in “narco-banners” left in public places, charging that Leyzoala is only targeting members of one cartel while its rivals have a free hand. The messages were signed by the “New Generation” or “New Juárez Cartel”—believed to be an offshoot of La Linea, itself a faction within the now-fractured old Juárez Cartel. New Generation is also said to be made up of members of Los Aztecas street gang operating under a new name. Mayor Murguia stands in strong support of Leyzaola, saying that he will leave office before he allows Leyzaola to step down. For his part, Leyzaola blamed Johnny Morales González AKA “El Tin Tan” for the violence, urging citizens to turn the alleged New Generation leader in. But Leyzaola was embarrassed when he distributed a photo he said was of Morales—which later turned out to be a potrait shot of a resident in El Paso. (AP, CNN, Feb. 2; InSight Crime, Feb. 1)
Tensions are also high in Michoacán, where some 4,000 military troops have been deployed following rumors of pending armed attacks by La Familia Michoacana and its splinter group the Knights Templar. In Morelia, the state capital, schools were dismissed and businesses closed early as troops flooded the streets. In the state’s port city, Lazaro Cárdenas, a protest motorcade blocked major roads, with trucks and taxis bearing signs opposing the military surge. (InSight Crime, Feb. 3)
See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.