HomeNewsBriefAMLO Security Crackdown Met With Mexico Cartel Death Threats
BRIEF

AMLO Security Crackdown Met With Mexico Cartel Death Threats

MEXICO / 11 FEB 2019 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Two death threats were made against the president of Mexico in the same week from two different criminal groups, suggesting that the president’s strategy for confronting such groups has done little to sway their confidence.

Authorities found a narco message January 31 in the city of Salamanca in central Guanajuato state that threatened President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and demanded that he pull back security forces in the area, Vanguardia reported. Guanajuato is home to the Salamanca refinery, a key hub for the lucrative oil theft business dominated by Mexico's cartels.  

López Obrador has attempted to crack down on rampant oil theft by shutting down major pipelines and deploying soldiers to protect refineries and oil tankers run by the state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). Days prior to the death threat, a bomb was placed inside of a truck outside of the Salamanca refinery. 

The narco message threatening López Obrador referenced the bombing and was signed by the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel and its leader, José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, alias “El Marro.” The group is waging a bloody battle against the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG) -- Mexico’s most powerful criminal group -- over control of oil theft in the so-called “Red Triangle” corridor that sits above a massive underground oil pipeline in east-central Mexico.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Days later, López Obrador received yet another death threat. The Arellano Felix Organization, also known as the Tijuana Cartel, claimed responsibility for the message in response to the president’s deployment of security forces to Tijuana in Baja California state along the US-Mexico border, Vanguardia reported on February 7.

Tijuana, once home to some of the bloodiest conflicts during the so-called “war on drugs," has seen a resurgence in killings as a result of small-time dealers battling one another for control of local drug sales, primarily involving methamphetamine.

The recent death threats come just after López Obrador announced at a morning press conference in late January that his administration’s security policy was decreasing levels of violence, and that there would no longer be a war against organized crime groups. In response to the threats, the president said that he would not give in to intimidation.

InSight Crime Analysis

It is alarming that López Obrador has received death threats from two powerful organized crime groups shortly after recent security decisions and actions by his administration. Such public threats suggest that criminal groups are sending a message that they will confront him head-on as he and his administration increasingly return to a militarized security strategy. 

Part of what propelled López Obrador to the presidency was his promise to move away from decades of failed militarized security strategies deployed by his predecessors and to end the “kingpin strategy” of attacking the heads of Mexico’s criminal groups.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Security Policy

However, the president's heavy-handed response to oil theft and insecurity in Tijuana is the latest sign that he has walked back some of his key campaign promises and reverted to old techniques. With the latest death threats and rising violence in key criminal corridors, the country's criminal groups don't appear to have wavered. Meanwhile, López Obrador seems to have jumped the gun on claiming that his new strategy has secured important security gains.

The Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, for example, set up roadblocks with burning vehicles to counter López Obrador's anti-fuel theft operations in municipalities the group controls in Guanajuato.

What's more, Mexico recorded nearly 3,000 murders during López Obrador’s first month in office in 2018, an almost 10 percent increase from the number of murders recorded in December 2017 under former President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Outside of Tijuana, other criminally strategic regions near major ports and along the US-Mexico border have seen grisly scenes of violence to start the year, including dismembered and calcified bodies.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 19 MAY 2022

Cocaine processing has taken root on European soil, Mexican and Dutch synthetic drug traffickers have partnered up, and a new…

BRAZIL / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population…

EL SALVADOR / 15 FEB 2022

MS13 members seeking to escape the gang's strongholds in Central America, or disappear off the radar, often flee to Mexico.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…