HomeNewsBriefRural Chihuahua, Mexico Still Cartel Battleground
BRIEF

Rural Chihuahua, Mexico Still Cartel Battleground

HOMICIDES / 7 OCT 2015 BY SAM TABORY EN

Mexico's Chihuahua state registered its lowest monthly homicide numbers since 2007, but per capita violence levels in rural areas of the state are alarmingly high as criminal groups continue to make the highlands a key battleground. 

Homicide statistics for the month of September show a historically low homicide rate for the state of Chihuahua with just 75 registered murders. When broken down at the sub-state level, the numbers show relatively low levels of violence in major urban areas with higher rates of violence in the rural municipalities of the Tarahumara highlands in the southwest corner of the state, reported Excelsior

The southern zone of the highlands registered 21 murders in September, the majority of which happened in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo -- population 50,000. Ciudad Juarez, a border city of 1.3 million, registered just 17 homicides. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Confrontation between armed groups such as Gente Nueva and La Linea, considered enforcement of the Sinaloa Cartel and Juarez Cartel respectively, are thought to be fueling much of the violence. (See Excelsior's map of the disputed routes below)

Responding to the high homicide rates of rural Tarahumara, Chihuahua State Prosecutor Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas characterized the murders as resulting from clashes between cartels, saying that the organizations use the the vast rural territory as an area to resolve disputes. He noted that the homicides are happening in areas removed from towns and communities. 

The cartel battleground in northern Mexico (Source: El Excelsior)

InSight Crime Analysis 

The new numbers suggest that Ciudad Juarez has been largely successful in sustaining its security gains over the last several years. However, they also make clear that the rural violence of the Tarahumara highlands and the Golden Triangle remains an intransigent security concern for the region.

Tarahumara has been a hotbed for years with large, army-like caravans of criminals fighting drawn out gun battles. To cite just one example, in June 2011, 11 people were killed in fighting between criminal groups.

SEE ALSO: Sinaloa Cartel News and Profiles

In 2013, President Enrique Peña Nieto identified the Tarahumara highlands and the larger Golden Triangle -- where the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa converge -- as a national security priority, dispatching federal security forces to the region to patrol the large rural territory.

The Triangle encompasses prime marijuana and poppy cultivation land historically under the control of the Sinaloa Cartel but which is increasingly contested by other criminal groups with a presence in northwest Mexico, specifically the Juarez Cartel.

While still linked to the Juarez Cartel, La Linea is seen as an increasingly independent actor, which could be a factor complicating powers dynamics in the region. 

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

BOLIVIA / 12 MAY 2014

Authorities in Bolivia have identified three trafficking routes used to transport drugs from Peru to Brazil by land and water,…

CONTRABAND / 5 SEP 2014

A UN report puts Guatemala among the top five most violent countries in the world, with 40.6 murders for every…

MEXICO / 30 AUG 2013

Police in Mexico have captured the alleged head of Sinaloa Cartel operations in Chihuahua, who is closely linked to cartel leader…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

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…