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. 

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

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.

COCAINE / 4 FEB 2021

Drug trafficking has been reconfigured in Guatemala. The large clans that traditionally dominated the business have broken up.

DISPLACEMENT / 11 MAY 2022

Mexico's produce industry has taken another hit from cartel violence, as tens of millions of dollars worth of peaches are…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…