A gun battle on the campus of Mexico’s largest university that left two dead underscores how the country’s continued struggles with tackling criminal violence are playing out on the local level.
On February 23, two individuals were killed after an altercation between two rival microtrafficking groups in an area known as Los Frontones located between the engineering and accounting departments on the main campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – UNAM), which is known for petty drug dealing, El Universal reported.
The Tláhuac Cartel, formerly led by Felipe de Jesús Pérez Luna, alias “El Ojos,” before he was killed by Mexico’s Navy in July 2017, was thought to operate freely and sell drugs in UNAM’s Los Frontones region. However, the death of El Ojos, the arrest of his alleged successor Uriel Isaac “N,” alias El Cochi, soon after and the arrest of Ricardo Ferro Pérez, alias “El Peque” or “El Richi” -- El Ojos’ nephew and the cartel’s latest leader -- created a power vacuum at UNAM, according to El Universal.
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The Tepito Cartel and the Rodolfos are now allegedly battling it out for control over microtrafficking on UNAM’s campus, El Universal reported February 27. Both groups reportedly started battling with smaller cells of the Tláhuac Cartel in areas surrounding Mexico City before moving in on the UNAM campus following the weakening of the Tláhuac Cartel in order to try and assume control.
The confrontations between the Tepito Cartel and the Rodolfos began in January of this year when they started fighting over control of petty drug dealing near UNAM’s philosophy department, according to El Universal.
InSight Crime Analysis
The latest deadly clash on UNAM’s campus is a stark example of how the country’s broader difficulties with combating criminal groups and their criminal activities are playing out in the capital city.
Officials in Mexico City have long denied the presence of organized crime groups, despite the mounting evidence that suggests otherwise. Authorities across the country have largely been unsuccessful in curbing criminality and related violence at the federal level -- 2017 was the country’s most violent year in history -- and it seems that local authorities continue to face similar issues.
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Indeed, following the latest confrontation, a video published by Aristegui Noticias showed an UNAM student and members of the university’s security force approaching a group of supposed microtraffickers to object against the sale and use of marijuana near the philosophy department. The alleged microtraffickers responded by threatening the student and security officials, telling them to “go over to Los Frontones, where they kill for free.”