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

HUMAN RIGHTS / 6 SEP 2016

Family members of disappeared persons in east Mexico have discovered 75 mass graves in a month in a stark demonstration…

MEXICO / 26 MAY 2015

Authorities in Reynosa, Mexico have dismantled 39 Internet-operated cameras designed to spy on security forces, the latest twist in the…

MEXICO / 21 OCT 2014

The murder of a Rural Defense Force commander in Mexico has reignited the debate over the legalization of vigilante forces,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…