HomeNewsBriefZetas Fuel Veracruz Security Crisis in South East Mexico
BRIEF

Zetas Fuel Veracruz Security Crisis in South East Mexico

MEXICO / 8 JUL 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Rising kidnappings, the discovery of mass graves and security force shootouts with alleged Zetas members have created a security storm in the state of Veracruz in southeast Mexico, but what lies behind this streak of violence?

On July 2, authorities discovered a clandestine grave containing at least eight bodies in a southern municipality of Veracruz, reported Animal Politico. This followed the June discovery of 12 mass graves in which at least 31 bodies were unearthed.

Accompanying these chilling finds has been a series of shootouts in urban areas of the state, reported Proceso. On July 5, security forces killed six alleged criminals in the city of Veracruz, while three alleged members of the Zetas criminal organization were killed in nearby Orizaba. A day earlier, police killed four suspected Zetas near the coast, including the group's alleged Veracruz plaza chief -- the local leader in charge of that territory. 

Meanwhile, the state has seen an upward trend in extortion and kidnappings in 2014, reported SDP Noticias.

The wave of crime and violence has prompted Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa to admit the state is facing a security crisis, and the government recently reinforced security in the north of the state. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Veracruz has traditionally been a relatively peaceful Mexican state, with a murder rate below the national average. However, in 2011 the state saw a sharp uptick in violence as the Zetas -- who had established a strong presence in the gulf state -- were challenged by the "Zetas Killers," a splinter group of the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (JCNG). During September and October of that year, authorities discovered over 60 bodies believed to be victims of the Zetas Killers in the city of Veracruz.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Zetas

The resulting insecurity led the government to resort to what has become a common security tactic -- sending in military troops to restore order. Officials attributed this 2011 security surge to a drop in homicides in the following months.

However, such moves generally fail to address root causes of violence and insecurity, permitting a resurgence of violence in the future. In the case of Veracruz, one of these underlying problems has been pervasive police corruption and ties to the Zetas, with thousands of police removed since 2011 in an attempt to clean up the force.

Meanwhile, Veracruz Security Minister Arturo Bermudez has claimed the recent spike in violence in the state's northern neighbor, Tamaulipas -- resulting from clashes between elements of the Zetas and Gulf Cartel -- has contributed to insecurity by pushing criminals to migrate into Veracruz.

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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 11 JUN 2021

Over seven million rounds of ammunition were stolen by an unknown armed group in central Mexico this week, a record-breaking…

FENTANYL / 14 APR 2021

Seizures of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl by customs agents in the United States have skyrocketed nationwide, underscoring potential shifts…

MEXICO / 18 OCT 2021

Gunmen have gone on a shooting spree of police surveillance cameras in the Mexican city of Culiacán – attacks that…

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…