HomeNewsSevered Pig Heads - Widespread Cartel Threats Against Mexican Police
NEWS

Severed Pig Heads - Widespread Cartel Threats Against Mexican Police

JALISCO CARTEL / 3 SEP 2021 BY TOMÁS MICHAEL EN

Criminal groups in Mexico are posting in public lists of police they plan to kill, and the message often comes with a macabre symbol -- a severed pig head.

Between January and August of this year, at least 17 heads have been found next to narcomantas, banners left in public by criminal groups that typically threaten rivals, authorities, government officials and even the public.

According to a review of local media by InSight Crime, the messages most often referenced police officers, displaying their names, badges or patrol numbers, and even their photographs. Many of these banners have focused on allegations that police units support rival groups in exchange for bribes.

In early August, Mexico City's Attorney General's Office announced a rare arrest in the case of a narcomanta that threatened to kill employees at a prison in the capital. Two people were charged with criminal association and attacks on the public for placing the banner directed at Hazael Ruiz Ortega, Mexico City’s undersecretary for prisons. The message, which claimed the undersecretary provided preferential treatment to members of rival gangs inside the prison, was accompanied by a pig's head.

In June, the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación - CJNG) left placards and a pig's head outside the base of the Guadalajara police. The placards listed the names of officers and accused them of protecting the Sinaloa Cartel. The unit, which had been in a firefight with a CJNG cell in April, had one of its officers taken from his home by gunmen and killed.

SEE ALSO: What Is Behind the Recent Wave of Violence in Mexico City?

Messages accompanied by pigs' heads have also been used to challenge rivals and to threaten politicians. The CJNG posted a banner in July announcing the end of a truce with parts of the Tijuana Cartel in Baja Calfornia.

And before Mexican legislative elections in June, several narcomantas threatened political candidates, telling people not to vote for certain parties.

InSight Crime Analysis

As a way to demonstrate overwhelming power, narcomantas have been used by crime groups since at least 2006. The appearance of the pig heads, though, comes at a time when police are being killed at an alarming rate.

According to a study by INEGI, Mexico’s statistics agency, 803 officers were killed in Mexico between 2013 and 2018. In 2020 alone, 524 officers were slain. This year appears to be on track to be just as deadly for police.

According to David Saucedo, a journalist and security analyst in Mexico, pig heads are specifically used to accuse police and other officials of corruption.

In an interview with InSight Crime, Saucedo explained that the meaning of the severed pig head is derived from poli puercos (police pigs), a derogatory term to refer to police officers in Mexican cities. “When left next to a banner, it signals that the target is dirty or traitorous,” said Saucedo.

SEE ALSO: As Officer Murders Soar, Identity Crisis Plagues Mexico’s Local Police

The CJNG seems to have been behind many of these banners as part of a nationwide campaign that saw the group leave 60 narcomantas across Mexico from January to July.

The CJNG has also been involved in gruesome attacks on police, from coordinated ambushes of local police to hunting down and killing members of a SWAT-style unit in their own homes.

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

JALISCO CARTEL / 17 DEC 2021

The United States and Mexico have officially entered a new phase of their partnership to tackle transnational organized crime groups…

HOMICIDES / 4 MAR 2022

Makeshift bombs and grenade launchers are now being used in battles between cartels and Mexico’s security forces in an alarming…

ELITES AND CRIME / 30 SEP 2022

Outgoing governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca, is about to lose immunity from an arrest warrant.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…