HomeNewsBriefMexico Mayors’ Narco Ties Go Far Beyond Iguala
BRIEF

Mexico Mayors’ Narco Ties Go Far Beyond Iguala

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 NOV 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Government information indicates that 12 mayors across Guerrero, Mexico may have criminal ties — suggesting that a dynamic pushed into the public eye by the case of 43 missing student protesters in Iguala is worrisomely widespread in this state and likely others.

According to intelligence reports from Mexican security bodies accessed by Milenio, these current and former mayors, concentrated primarily in southwest and central Guerrero (see map), are investigated for links to the Familia Michoacana, the Guerreros Unidos, Los Rojos, the Knights Templar, and a group called Granados – Beltran Leyva. The last of these allegedly works on behalf of the larger Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) and the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG).

Two mayors have already been arrested for events related to these ties. Jose Luis Abarca, the former mayor of Iguala, was recently captured along with his wife for allegedly ordering attacks on student protesters that were perpetrated by the Guerreros Unidos. Meanwhile, Feliciano Alvarez Mesino of Cuetzala del Progreso was arrested in April for alleged ties to the Familia Michoacana and kidnapping allegations.

Of the rest, some have apparently been coerced into supporting criminal groups. Others, like the mayor of Taxco — which neighbors Iguala — and the mayor of Chilapa de Alvarez, located further south, are accused of actively protecting and working with criminal groups, partly through maintaining highly corrupt local police forces.

mexicomayors

InSight Crime Analysis

The alleged abduction and gruesome murders of 43 student protesters in Iguala this past September — a case that has received tremendous international attention but has yet to be resolved — helped bring to light numerous links between the local government and municipal police with the Guerreros Unidos. As Milenio’s information reveals, Iguala is far from a unique case in this regard. 

By developing local government ties, Mexico’s smaller criminal groups are guaranteed a measure of protection for their activities. Unlike Colombia, Mexico has municipal and state police forces that operate independently from the national force, meaning that mayors and governors can have significant influence over their activities. Corruption among local security forces has been a widespread and recurring problem in Mexico, and Guerrero is the state with the 6th highest proportion of municipal police that have failed confidence tests as part of an ongoing reform process.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

A similar dynamic as Guerrero’s has been seen in neighboring Michoacan, where various mayors and councilmen — as well as the former interim governor — have been detained for alleged ties to the Knights Templar. 

These links — which as Milenio indicates are not always a choice for the mayors —  are perhaps a natural byproduct of the fracturing of organized crime in Mexico, and the increasing trend toward smaller, more regional groups that need to maintain contacts and influence in their area of operation, without the capacity to corrupt politics on a national scale. 

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.

Related Content

MEXICO / 29 AUG 2011

Some 1,500 army and air force troops and 1,500 Federal Police have been deployed in the state of Nuevo Leon,…

MEXICO / 20 JUL 2012

The Mexican branch of British-based bank HSBC will close about 20,000 accounts in the Cayman Islands believed to have links…

JALISCO CARTEL / 31 MAY 2016

Mexico's Jalisco Cartel is attempting to wrest control of Baja California Sur from the Sinaloa Cartel, according to a new…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …