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

JALISCO CARTEL / 14 JAN 2022

Criminal organizations in the state of Michoacán are experimenting with ever-greater firepower as they wage war over hotly contested territory.

FEATURED / 6 OCT 2021

It was so simple once. The Gulf Cartel and its ancestors maintained control of Tamaulipas for eight decades.

COVID AND CRIME / 3 NOV 2021

One of the most sought-after destinations in all of Latin America, the Caribbean resort town of Tulum is now the…

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…