HomeNewsBriefOfficials Resist Blaming ‘Cartels’ for Deadly Mexico City Clashes
BRIEF

Officials Resist Blaming 'Cartels' for Deadly Mexico City Clashes

MEXICO / 21 JUL 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

A clash between Mexico's Marines and a criminal group in Mexico City has left eight dead, again raising questions about shifting dynamics in the country's criminal landscape and whether organized crime-linked violence has penetrated an area largely devoid of it thus far.

On July 20, Mexico's Navy carried out an operation against the so-called Tláhuac Cartel in southeast Mexico City that left eight dead, including the group's presumed leader, Felipe de Jesús Pérez Luna, alias "El Ojos," according to a Navy press release

Accompanied by federal police forces, Mexico's Marines were reportedly assaulted with "high-powered" weapons while patrolling the area. In the ensuing firefight, officials confirmed the deaths of eight individuals. Officials also reportedly found several firearms in the group's possession that are supposed to be used exclusively by the country's armed forces. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Officials said that the operation was carried out after they determined the Tláhuac Cartel to be engaging in drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and homicide in and around the Tláhuac, Milpa Alta, Xochimilco and Iztapalapa areas of Mexico City, according to the press release. 

The group's leader, Pérez Luna, allegedly operated in Mexico City since at least 2012 and has been linked to some 50 homicides since, including the murder of a top security official in February 2016 in Iztapalapa, Reforma reported. The Tláhuac Cartel has also been linked to at least 32 other homicides in Mexico City, according to El Universal

After the confrontation, other suspected members of the group instituted several roadblocks in neighborhoods bordering the one where the clash had occurred, resulting in the detention of at least 23 individuals, Aristegui Noticias reported. In addition, a large truck and three buses were stolen and set on fire. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

The recent violence in Mexico City is another sign that organized crime-related violence may be penetrating the capital city, and shows the strength of so-called microtrafficking groups operating in one of Latin America's largest urban centers

Still, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera rejected the idea that cartels were present or operating in Mexico City, and stated that the Tláhuac Cartel was simply a microtrafficking group because "a cartel is a much larger organization," he told Televisa

The mayor hasn't been the only one to make this assertion. Past and present Mexican officials, including current Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, have continually denied that large, sophisticated organized crime groups often described as "cartels" have a presence in Mexico City, claiming that only microtrafficking groups do. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Microtrafficking

However, organized crime-related violence in Mexico City has been seen before. In 2013, a microtrafficking capo orchestrated the kidnapping and murder of 13 individuals. In July 2015, a multiple homicide linked to organized crime was committed in the Narvarte neighborhood, followed in October by the discovery of a dead body found hanging from a bridge in the Iztapalapa district. 

The latest incident may also be a natural spillover of violence that has long simmered in Mexico City's "orillas," or outskirts. For example, Ecatepec, a northern suburb of Mexico City not widely known as a center of organized crime, made the list of cities with the highest number of murders under the tenure of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. In the past, violence in Mexico City has also in part been attributed to the city's growing local drug trade.

As one of Latin America's largest urban centers, the growing presence and profitability of microtrafficking may be a contributing factor in these incidents of violence. In June, a group of 20 individuals linked to the Tláhuac Cartel were found to have been operating at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico - UNAM). The group allegedly trafficked marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD and hashish, and generated profits of more than 36.5 million pesos per year (more than $2 million).

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

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 12 MAY 2011

A group of Central American migrants who fell victim to a kidnapping scheme in northern Mexico has accused immigration officials…

ELITES AND CRIME / 8 SEP 2017

More than $430 million of misused federal funds, 128 fictitious or irregular companies and 50 government officials. They all form part…

MEXICO / 10 JUN 2013

A new report examines the causes and likely effects of the wave of vigilante groups popping up in Mexico,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.