HomeNewsBriefReports of Narco-Controlled Towns Shake Mexico
BRIEF

Reports of Narco-Controlled Towns Shake Mexico

MEXICO / 25 SEP 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Reports of drug traffickers taking control of towns in northwestern Mexico is a reminder of how organized crime often seeks power at the municipal government level. 

Criminals have taken near total control of Madera, a town in the northern border state of Chihuahua, reporter Dora Villalobos told local media. The town sees two to three murders per week and residents are often subjected to kidnapping and extortion, she added.

In another Chihuahua town, Las Chinacas, some 300 families have fled their homes after being threatened by a caravan of armed men, reported La Opcion.

Meanwhile in nearby Sinaloa state, Santiago Chaidez Jimenez is known as the "narco-mayor" of Canelas, where he allegedly directs a group of hitmen who kill political rivals and those who fail to make extortion payments, according to El Diario

InSight Crime Analysis

It is noteworthy that these recent reports involve towns with little or no support from Mexico's central government. Madera has no permanent federal or state presence, Villalobos was reported as saying, while Las Chinacas and Canelas are both isolated mountain towns. 

Organized crime's influence can most often be felt at this level, where officials are seen as more vulnerable to receiving both bribes and threats. The ongoing killing of mayors in Mexico speaks to this grim reality, as do the spikes in violence that often precede local elections.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Making matters worse, municipal-level police are often poorly paid, making it easier for criminals to subvert what little security apparatus a town may have. President Enrique Peña Nieto's "mando unico" initiative seeks to address municipal level police corruption by consolidating local police under state command. However, there are indications state police agencies are no less prone to corruption than their municipal counterparts.

This dynamic is certainly not unique to Mexico. In Central America's Northern Triangle region (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), criminal groups often fill the power vacuum in areas with a weak state presence (pdf), especially in border regions where drugs, weapons, and other contraband products flow freely. 

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.

Tags

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

COVID AND CRIME / 30 JUL 2020

Reports that the head of the Jalisco Cartel New Generation constructed a hospital, both for himself and local residents, is…

HOMICIDES / 21 MAR 2012

A new report by the Trans-Border Institute documents the major trends in Mexico’s drug war last year, which saw violence…

JUDICIAL REFORM / 29 APR 2011

More than 70 percent of all federal arrests in Mexico never reach trial, highlighting deficiencies in the justice…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…