Michoacán: “La Familia” strikes back hard at federales

Heavily armed gunmen tossed grenades and opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles on Mexican federal police bases and checkpoints in the state capital of Morelia and in five other towns in Michoacán in the wee hours of July 11, immediately after the arrest of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, an alleged high-ranking member of La Familia drug cartel. Attacks were reported in Zitácuaro, Lázaro Cárdenas, Pátzcuaro, Taretan, Huetamo and Apatzingan—where assailants shot up a hotel where federal agents were staying. Five federal police agents and two soldiers were killed, with several more injured.

Rueda was allegedly in charge of operations under reputed La Familia leaders Nazario Moreno González and José de Jesus Mendez Vargas, both on Mexico’s most-wanted list. Minutes after he was captured in Morelia, a group of more than two dozen hit men tossed fragmentation grenades and opened fire on federal police offices where he was being held. Three agents were injured before police were able to fend off the aggressors. Attacks immediately spread across the state—especially targeting towns where federal police arrested local mayors in May in an unprecedented sweep of politicians accused of protecting drug gangs. Eight Michoacán mayors remain behind bars.

There were also coordinated attacks on federal police and army troops in Altamirano, in Guerrero state, and Salamanca, in Guanajuato. (El Universal, July 12; AP, July 11)

See our last posts on Mexico and the narco war.

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  1. Michoacán massacre
    Twelve bodies—11 men and a woman—found tortured and fatally shot July 14 at La Huacana, Michoacán, were identified as federal police agents. Accused Familia operative Francisco Javier Frías Lara AKA “El Chivo” was arrested in connection with the murders. He reportedly told police that following the arrest of Arnoldo Rueda Medina AKA “La Minsa”, the organization has been taken over by Servando Gómez Martínez AKA “La Tuta”. (El Universal, July 14)