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Mexico Intelligence Report for April 2018

Date of Report: May 11, 2018

Overview

Although April was not as violent as March, the threats to public safety remained at higher levels than they were for most months of the last five years. Of particular concern is the expansion of armed robbery in key areas of the country. Bank customers and individuals in public thoroughfares are increasingly being assaulted, and sometimes killed when resisting. Train robberies continue to plague Puebla and Veracruz as well. The number of political assassinations has crept upwards over the last few months. We anticipated this pattern as we enter the election season. Interestingly, the bishop of the Chilpancingo-Chilapa de Álvarez diocese recently met with several leaders of criminal organizations in Guerrero in an effort to convince them to not kill political candidates leading up to the election. He later reported that they had promised to comply, but proof of this is less evident.

Attacks against Governmental Authority

There were 56 attacks directed at governmental authorities reported during April. This figure is considerably lower than March, but it still is 29% higher than the monthly average for 2017. Indeed, all four months of 2018 have measurably exceeded the figures for all months in 2017. Of the incidents during April, 13 involved the assassination or kidnapping of government officials or party/union activists. For example, the mayor was assassinated in Jilotlan de los Dolores, Jalisco. A candidate for city council member was assassinated in Tepetlaoxtoc, Edomex. A candidate for deputy (Partido Verde Ecologista de México, PVEM) was assassinated in Múgica, Michoacán. The secretary-general of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) for Tamaulipas was gunned down in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas. The municipal treasurer was murdered in Hueyapan de Ocampo, Veracruz. The former municipal director of the MORENA party was murdered in Zumpango de Neri, Guerrero. A former mayor was kidnapped while traveling with his wife in Etzatlan, Jalisco. The former municipal prosecutor was kidnapped in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The director of municipal sanitation was kidnapped in Catemaco, Veracruz.

The regional president of the Confederación Nacional Campesina (CNC) and a municipal official from Papanoa were kidnapped and murdered in Tecpan de Galeana, Guerrero. The leader of the Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Cañada y Sierra Mazateca (UCICSC) was gunned down in Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca. The leader of the Colonia 28 de Marzo y del Partido del Trabajo was murdered in Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca. The municipal president was murdered in Tlanepantla, Puebla. However, reports suggested he died during an attempted robbery.

There were also several failed attacks directed at political figures. For example, gunmen attacked the home of the Fiscal General del Estado of Chihuahua. A guard manning the security kiosk was killed in the attack. A few days later, three state police officers were injured by gunmen while guarding the governor’s residence in Chihuahua, Chihuahua. Also, a local deputy evaded an attempted kidnapping in Xalapa, Veracruz. She reported that two vehicles intercepted her at an Oxxo, but she was able to escape.

A police bodyguard was killed when assailants fired on the municipal president in San José Tenango, Oaxaca. The politician was not injured in the attack. Gunmen attempted to kill a candidate for federal deputy (PRI) on the outskirts of Acapulco. He was not injured in the attack. A city council member was injured when he was attacked by several individuals with bats in Pánuco, Veracruz. A candidate for local deputy was kidnapped in Sayula de Alemán, Veracruz. He was later rescued by federal police.

Also, the secretary of a mayoral candidate (PRD) was gunned down in Venustiano Carranza, Michoacán. In a similar incident, the secretary of a former mayor was murdered in Turicato, Michoacán. A bodyguard of the mayor of Tepetzintla was kidnapped and murdered in Veracruz.

At least 36 police officers or military personnel were killed in attacks this month. This is the highest number since April 2013. Among those killed was the municipal chief of police in Chilapa de Álvarez, Guerrero.

Two army or marine patrols were attacked in Baja California and Nuevo Léon. One federal police patrol was attacked in Tamaulipas. Also, gunmen fired on officials of the Procuraduría General de Republica (PGR) in San Jeronimito, Guerrero. Gunmen fired on nine state police patrols in Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Tamaulipas (3 attacks), and Veracruz. In the most noteworthy incident, six state police officers were killed in an ambush in Petatlán, Guerrero. A 40mm grenade launcher was used in an attack on a state police patrol in Reynosa. Also, two police officers were killed when gunmen attacked a highway checkpoint near Zacatelco, Tlaxcala.

No municipal police patrols were reportedly attacked this month.

There were 21 additional attacks directed at law enforcement personnel this month. For example, two state police officers were gunned down at a roadside restaurant in Aldama, Chihuahua. A state police officer was killed when shots were fired into his vehicle on Highway 57 near Saltillo, Coahuila. A homicide detective and his partner were intercepted and killed in Cuautitlán Izcalli, Edomex. An official with the Poder Judicial del Estado de Morelos was gunned down at the División del Norte Metro station in Delegación Benito Juárez of Mexico City. The body of another officer was found at the same site. A municipal police officer was gunned down at a quinceañera party in Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca. A state police officer and his wife were gunned down outside their home by assailants in Soledad de Graciano, San Luis Potosí. Another state police officer was intercepted and killed in the same city the following day.

A municipal police officer was kidnapped in Celaya, Guanajuato. Two federal police officers were murdered in Manzanillo, Colima. A police officer was kidnapped, murdered, and burned in Gasca, Guanajuato. A bodyguard of the municipal chief of police was killed in Culiacancito, Sinaloa. A state police officer was kidnapped and murdered in Salamanca, Guanajuato. A state police commander was kidnapped and subsequently released in Irapuato, Guanajuato. An officer with the Comisión de Seguridad (CES) was able to fight off assailants in Chihuahua, Chihuahua.

Relatives of political officials were also targeted. For example, the sister of a former mayor was executed in Copándaro, Michoacán. The sister-in-law of a former mayor was murdered in Aquila, Michoacán. The same former mayor’s brother was kidnapped, injured by gunfire, and then released.

Figure 1:  Attacks against Authorities by Month λ

Image shows the attacks on authorities in Mexico, broken down by month.

Note: These figures should be considered minimum counts as numerous incidents are not reported by the media or government officials.

λ President Peña Nieto took office on December 1, 2012 (columns in red).

Geographic Pattern of Attacks

The attacks against governmental authorities were reported across 17 states (Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). The number of states impacted is lower than March, but it is 28% higher than the monthly average for 2017.

Table 1: States Hit Hardest by Attacks on Authorities

States Number of Attacks
Veracruz 9
Guerrero 8
Chihuahua 5
Guanajuato 5
Tamaulipas 5
Oaxaca 4

Progress?

Mexican authorities reported the capture of 10 regional leaders or key operatives of the major cartels this month. This figure is the second highest since October 2015, and it is matched by the number apprehended during February. Among those captured, perhaps the most important was Ismael López Guerrero “El Mayito,” a key financial operative of the Cártel del Noreste (CDN, a faction of the Zetas), who was captured in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Adrián Omar López Castillo “El Chivito”, a regional leader of the CDN, was arrested in Linares, Nuevo Léon. Víctor N. “El Chore”, a regional leader of the Zetas, was apprehended in Hidalgo, Tamaulipas.

Jorge Luis N. “El Orejón”, a regional leader of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), was captured in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco. José Luis Gutiérrez Ochoa “El Tolín” or “El 77”, a regional leader of the CJNG, was arrested in Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit. Adrián Gómez Meza, a key financial operative of the CJNG, was captured in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

With regard to the Tijuana Cartel, Ricardo Verber Campos “El Richie”, a key financial operative for the cartel, was captured in Tijuana, Baja California. José Ángel Espinosa Leyva “Omega 25”, a regional leader of the Tijuana Cartel, was arrested in Mexico City. Also, Armando “El Comandante”, a regional leader of the Caballeros Templarios, was apprehended in Apodaca, Nuevo Léon. Jesús “El Changuito” Méndez Velázquez, the son of José Jesús Méndez Vargas “El Chango” (who was the leader of the Familia Michoacana), was captured in Amealco, Querétaro.

Finally, a regional leader was killed in a battle with authorities. In this case, it was Azael Sánchez Martínez “El Gavilán”, of the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), who was killed in a battle in Cumuatillo, Michoacán.

Federal authorities also arrested numerous government officials and police officers on various charges. For example, the mayor of Tlaquiltenango was arrested on homicide charges in Morelos. The former director for the Veracruz state police was implicated in several cases of forced disappearances.

Nine municipal police officers were charged with kidnapping in Naolinco, Veracruz. Three municipal police officers were charged with kidnapping four Colombians in Cancún, Quintana Roo. A state police officer was charged with homicide in Isla, Veracruz. Three municipal police officers were charged with kidnapping and raping a teenage girl in Las Choapas, Veracruz. A municipal police officer was charged with the sexual assault and murder of two girls in Navolato, Sinaloa. Also, the fugitive former governor of Tamaulipas, Tomás Yarrington, was extradited from Italy to face a wide range of criminal charges in Mexico.

Mexican authorities seized weapons and munitions at seven sites this month. These caches were discovered in Nuevo Léon, Tamaulipas (5 sites), and Veracruz. In one location, a small cache of weapons and two armored vehicles were found in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. In a separate case, more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition were seized from the cargo area of a passenger bus in Nanchital Veracruz.

However, very significant seizures of weapons were made at four sites in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Combined, these caches contained several hundred AKM and AR-15 rifles, two Barrett 50-caliber sniper rifles, an RPG-7 grenade launcher, 9 RPG-7 grenades, two fragmentation grenades, 13 tubes of Trinitrotoluene (TNT), more than 4000 rifle magazines, almost 115,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, and uniforms with marine patches. A gold-plated AKM was also found at one of the sites. This is the largest such cache in more than a year.

In contrast to these seizures by authorities, two rifles were stolen from a federal police vehicle while the officers were dining in a shopping center in Celaya, Guanajuato. Elsewhere, three previously seized armored vehicles were stolen from an impound lot in Reynosa.

Street Battles (Enfrentamientos)

There were 54 street battles reported during April. This figure is less than March, but it is 10% higher than the monthly average of 2017. These battles occurred across 16 states (Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). The number of states impacted is 30% higher than the average for 2017. In a case of friendly fire, four state police officers were injured when their patrol was accidentally fired on by a marine unit in Jilotlán de los Dolores, Jalisco.

Also, April was especially hazardous for bystanders who were injured or killed during some of these battles. Six bystanders were killed during a street battle in Reynosa (April 12). A few days later another bystander was injured during another battle in Reynosa. A woman was injured by a stray bullet during another battle in Reynosa the following week. A high school student was accidentally hit by gunfire during a battle in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

Table 2: States Hit Hardest by Street Battles

States Number of Battles
Tamaulipas 18
Veracruz 9
Guerrero 4
Nuevo León 4
Sinaloa 4

Hazardous Overland Travel

As discussed in numerous previous reports, overland travel in many areas of the country can be considered hazardous. The reports of dangerous incidents continued this month. For example, the mayor of Moloacán (Veracruz) was intercepted and carjacked by assailants as she traveled along Highway 145D near Cosoleacaque, Veracruz. Elsewhere, two people were killed, and a 4-year-old boy was injured when shots were fired into their vehicle as they traveled near Ejutla, Oaxaca. Three people were injured when gunmen fired into their vehicle as they traveled along Highway 145 near Cosoleacaque, Veracruz. A father and his daughter were killed when shots were fired into their vehicle in Tecomán, Colima. A woman was also injured in the attack. A traveler was killed when shots were fired into his vehicle along Highway 140 near Xalapa, Veracruz. Assailants chased travelers and fired at their vehicle in Tezonapa, Veracruz. A similar attack resulted in three fatalities along Highway 3 near Tecate, Baja California. A man and woman were killed when gunmen fired into their vehicle near Ciudad Obregón, Sonora. A truck driver was killed by gunfire along Highway 135D in Oaxaca. An individual riding in the back of a pickup was killed while trying to avert an attempted robbery along Highway 185 near Oteapan, Veracruz.

Gunmen intercepted a vehicle near El Tejocote, Guerrero. A pregnant woman and her 6-year-old daughter were killed in the attack, while a 4-year-old boy was injured, and a man was kidnapped from the vehicle. Five people were kidnapped while driving along Highway 145 near San Miguel Soyaltepec, Oaxaca. Assailants kidnapped a man from his car on a busy boulevard in Veracruz, Veracruz. A teacher and her two nephews were kidnapped while driving near Acayucan, Veracruz.

Attacks on buses have also continued. For example, a passenger was shot during a robbery on a bus as it traveled along Highway 145 near Temascal, Veracruz. Three passengers were injured when assailants fired into a bus as it traveled along Highway 95D in route to Acapulco, Guerrero. The bus crashed; causing further injuries. Passengers were robbed on a bus near Huatusco, Veracruz. Passengers were beaten and robbed on a bus in Xonacatepec, Puebla. Several bus passengers were kidnapped while the bus was stopped for lunch along Highway 150 near La Tinaja, Veracruz. Assailants in a vehicle stopped at the eatery and forced the passengers into the vehicle and drove away.

Narcobloqueos (Illegal Street Blockades)

  • April 11 – Reynosa, Tamaulipas
  • April 12 – Río Bravo, Tamaulipas

Violence

The Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) reported 2346 felony homicides in March. The figures for April will not be available until later this month. However, preliminary assessments suggest the level of violence this month will be a bit lower than March; more on par with January and February. That said, violence was certainly more prevalent in April when compared to any month during the first two quarters of 2017.

The media reported 33 attacks directed at civilians in public venues such as restaurants, bars, shopping areas, and events. While this figure is significantly lower than March, it closely matches the monthly average of 2017. At least 47 people were killed in these attacks across 12 states (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Edomex, Guerrero, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz).

Two people were killed when assailants attacked mourners at a funeral home in Delegación Benito Juárez of Mexico City. Two people were killed, and three were injured when shots were fired in front of the Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (SNDIF) in Naucalpan, Edomex. Twelve people were injured when five men fired into a drinking venue in the Plaza Marina of Cuernavaca, Morelos. A waitress was critically injured when gunmen fired into a bar in San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo Léon. A woman was gunned down during a street dance in Delegación Magdalena Contreras of Mexico City. The son of a prominent family was gunned down inside an upscale restaurant in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo Léon. Also, five high school students were injured when two gunmen entered their school and opened fire in Ciudad Victoria.

Numerous individuals were reportedly killed by groups of assailants in or near their homes. For example, four people were killed inside a home in Tuxpan, Veracruz. A 10-year-old boy was killed when shots were fired into his home in Ignacio Zaragoza, Chihuahua. Gunmen entered a home and shot three people in Tijuana, Baja California. A woman and her 4-year-old daughter were killed in the incident. Gunmen entered an apartment and killed a man and an 8-year-old girl in front of her mother in Cosoleacaque, Veracruz. A 16-year-old girl was killed, and another woman was injured when gunmen attacked their home in San Juan Zautla, Oaxaca. Two people were killed in an attack on their home in León, Guanajuato. A man and woman were gunned down inside their home in Irapuato, Guanajuato. Two women were injured by gunfire during an attack near their home in Acayucan, Veracruz.

Other attacks occurred on neighborhood streets, and many of the victims were women and children. In one case, a woman was killed, and her husband and two sons were injured when gunmen fired on them near their home in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. A woman was injured by gunfire while walking along a street in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Another woman was gunned down on a street in Cuitláhuac, Veracruz. A young woman who sold juices from her tricycle-based fruit stand was gunned down in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. A woman was shot and killed while sitting in her car in the parking lot of a shopping center in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Indeed, at least 84 women were murdered across 19 states this month.

Numerous victims were kidnapped and murdered as well. The remains of at least 265 victims were found in mass deposits. These bodies were discovered at 105 separate disposal sites across 20 states (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Colima, Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz). While the number of victims is lower than the previous three months, it is 41% higher than the monthly average for 2017.

Eight bodies (including five women) were found in Tarímbaro, Michoacán. Five bodies were left in a vehicle in Cancún, Quintana Roo. Two of the victims’ hearts had been removed and shoved into their mouths. The tortured and nude bodies of five men were found in a home in Boca del Río, Veracruz. A body was hung from a highway overpass in Peñasco, San Luis Potosí. Another body was hung from a bridge over Highway 14 near Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. At least 46 of these victims had been decapitated or dismembered across 12 states. In one case, a head was left in an ice chest in León, Guanajuato. A dismembered body was found inside a motel room in Cancún.

Over the last few years, there have been numerous incidents where gunmen attacked residents in isolated rural communities. This pattern has been especially prevalent in western Guerrero. Amid concerns about elevated violence this month, Mexican soldiers and federal police escorted a convoy of almost 100 residents fleeing cartel violence in Laguna de Huayanalco, Guerrero. This event follows a similar incident involving the evacuation of 13 people from nearby Totolapan in March.

Other victims of violence this month include a civil engineer who was murdered in his vehicle in Oaxaca, Oaxaca. Several assailants stormed a medical clinic and killed a physician in Miahutlán de Porfirio Díaz, Oaxaca. An attorney was shot and killed while driving in Ciudad Victoria. The son of a notary public was gunned down in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. A school teacher was killed when gunmen fired into his vehicle in central Ciudad Mendoza, Veracruz. A priest was stabbed to death in a church in Cuautitlán Izcalli, Edomex. Another priest was found shot to death inside his church in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco. An additional priest was killed in Cuernavaca, Morelos. A security guard at a construction site was murdered in Monterrey. A pedestrian suffered severe burns after assailants sprayed him with gasoline and set him on fire on a street in Culiacán. A fruit vendor was gunned down on a busy street in Acapulco. Assailants shot and killed an individual on busy Playa de Caletilla in Acapulco.

At least 29 taxi drivers were murdered this month. Indeed, more than 288 taxi drivers have been killed in just the last year. In some of these cases, the drivers were victims of armed robbers, while in other cases they were killed for failing to meet extortion demands. Also, in some cases, there is evidence that they were working as scouts for various criminal organizations. This activity makes them especially vulnerable to rival groups who want to “blind” their opposition. Whatever the motivation, the taxi drivers this month were killed in Edomex, Guanajuato, Guerrero (4 victims), Jalisco, Oaxaca (3 victims), Quintana Roo, Veracruz (15 victims), and Zacatecas.

Another taxi driver was injured when gunmen fired into his taxi in Martínez de la Torre, Veracruz. In another incident, a female passenger in a taxi was killed in Acapulco. The leader of a transporters’ union was killed in Acapulco. A leader of the Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM) was executed in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. Elsewhere, a bus driver was gunned down in front of his passengers in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. A bus fare collector was gunned down on a street in Coatzacoalcos. Another bus fare collector was shot and killed in Córdoba, Veracruz.

Selected Vigilante Incidents

  • April 5 – an accused cell phone thief was beaten by shopkeepers at the market in Oaxaca, Oaxaca.
  • April 7 – four accused cargo thieves were detained by municipal police in Yehualtepec, Puebla. Unsatisfied with the arrangement, angry residents stormed the police station, set fire to the facility, disarmed the police, and subsequently killed two of the detained individuals. The other two individuals were also shot but were transported to the hospital.
  • April 12 – residents detained an accused thief in Veracruz, Veracruz.
  • April 14 – residents detained another accused thief in Veracruz, Veracruz.
  • April 17 – in a third incident, residents detained another accused thief in Veracruz, Veracruz.
  • April 20 – mototaxi drivers beat an accused thief in Oaxaca, Oaxaca.
  • April 21 – bus passengers severely beat an accused robber along the side of Highway 150D in La Paz, Edomex.
  • April 23 – residents attempted to lynch two accused thieves in San Antonio, Puebla.
  • April 23 – residents amputated several fingers of an accused thief in Villahermosa, Tabasco.
  • April 24 – shopkeepers detained an accused thief at the Central de Abasto in Oaxaca, Oaxaca.
  • April 27 – staff and students at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo (UAEH) detained three accused thieves on campus in Pachuca, Hidalgo.

Extortion, Kidnapping, and Armed Robbery

Extortion

There were 11 fatal extortion-related incidents reported this month; a number on par with the previous four months. These events occurred in Guanajuato, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Among the victims were the owners, employees, or patrons of various businesses including small stores, a barber, restaurants, bars, and an event venue. Also, a businessman was injured by gunfire for not responding to extortion demands in Las Choapas, Veracruz.

Also, at least 12 individuals attacked the Sistema Integral de Transporte de Tijuana (SITT) and damaged several buses in Tijuana. A bus was destroyed by arson in Acapulco. Four automobiles were destroyed by arson at various locations across Acapulco. Five employees of the Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma beer distributorship were injured when gunmen fired into the building from the street in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.

Kidnapping

Federal authorities reported the disruption of just four kidnapping operations during April. This figure is the lowest since October 2015. They were reported in Tamaulipas, and Veracruz (3 locations). Also in one case, the owner of a laser surgery clinic was charged with kidnapping and homicide in Tuxpan, Veracruz.

In addition to the abovementioned cases, authorities were able to rescue several kidnapping victims or frustrate their kidnapping altogether. For example, police rescued an oil field worker who had been kidnapped near Coatzacoalcos. Municipal police frustrated an attempted kidnapping and arrested three individuals (including a female suspect) in Escobedo, Nuevo León. Several individuals attempted to kidnap a patron from a restaurant in Guadalupe, Nuevo Léon. They were pursued by authorities. Several men attempted to kidnap the daughter of a physician as she was walking to her secondary school in Cárdenas, Tabasco. She was able to escape by running into the school grounds where she was helped by staff. A businessman was injured by gunfire while resisting an attempted kidnapping near his office in Coatzacoalcos. In other cases, the victims were eventually released by their captors. For example, a businessman was released by his kidnappers after spending two days in captivity in Xalapa, Veracruz.

The whereabouts or condition of many other victims remains unclear. For example, an attorney was kidnapped in Reynosa. A businessman was kidnapped in Xalapa, Veracruz. Several gunmen entered a public pool and kidnapped for individuals from the facility in northern San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. An SUV intercepted a taxi and kidnapped the driver and a female passenger along a busy street in central Córdoba, Veracruz. A citrus farmer was kidnapped in Martínez de la Torre, Veracruz. A driver for the Agua Misant water purification plant was intercepted while driving and subsequently kidnapped from the vehicle in Jaltipan de Morelos, Veracruz. Two Pemex workers were kidnapped in Nanchital, Veracruz. Another Pemex worker was kidnapped from his vehicle while traveling near Agua Dulce, Veracruz.

In other cases, the kidnap victims were eventually killed. For example, the owner of several restaurants in the Monterrey area was kidnapped and eventually murdered in Guadalupe, Nuevo León. An engineer was kidnapped and murdered in Jaltipan de Morelos, Veracruz. A young married couple was kidnapped in Omealca, Veracruz. The body of the woman was found a few days later. A 3-year-old boy was kidnapped in Tabasco. Police were involved in the negotiation process, and the child was ultimately killed. A 7-year-old boy was killed during an attempted kidnapping near his home in Chilpancingo, Guerrero.

In a pattern similar to all months of the last few years, women and girls continue to be targeted for kidnapping; in many cases by apparent sexual predators. Among the victims this month was a 17-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in Fortín de Flores, Veracruz. Another young woman was kidnapped and murdered in Atzalan, Veracruz. A woman was kidnapped and murdered in Ixtaczoquiltán, Veracruz. A woman was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered in Coatzacoalcos. The same fate met a young woman in Reynosa. The nude bodies of two women were found in Cazones de Herrera, Veracruz. They had both been sexually assaulted. A businesswoman was intercepted while driving and kidnapped from her vehicle in San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz. In a similar case, a woman was kidnapped off a street in Acayucan, Veracruz. A 7-year-old girl was kidnapped in front of her nanny on a street in Actopan, Hidalgo. The nanny was beaten by the assailants.

A pregnant woman was kidnapped and murdered in Quesera de Cortés, Guanajuato. Another pregnant woman was murdered in Pénjamo, Guanajuato. Assailants kidnapped a third pregnant woman, another woman, and a man from a residence in Acapulco, Guerrero.

Also, there were reports that three different pregnant women were kidnapped and their fetuses were removed this month. These incidents were reported in Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Indeed, María de la Luz Estrada, the director of the Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio (OCNF), suggested that the infants are being surgically extracted by organized criminal groups. She reported that there had been four such cases in Tabasco and Veracruz this year.

Armed Robbery

The media reported numerous incidents of cargo theft this month. In one case, a truck driver was injured by gunfire during an attempting cargo theft along Highway 150 in Cuitláhuac, Veracruz. On a related note, a taxi driver was killed in the same city that day. A truck was hijacked along Highway 37 in Michoacán. Nine tons of tequila were stolen from a trailer in Rafael Delgado, Veracruz.

Mexican authorities were able to intervene in several cases as well. Federal police recovered a stolen trailer and arrested three individuals in Córdoba, Veracruz. State police frustrated an attempted hijacking of a truck hauling electronics in Río Blanco, Veracruz. State police captured robbers who were in the process of stealing cargo from a trailer in Amatlán, Veracruz. Three individuals were arrested after they had stolen a trailer hauling 20 tons of rice in Mexico City.

Federal police were able to frustrate an attempted robbery of diesel fuel from a train in Acultzingo, Veracruz. The police and the gunmen exchanged gunfire. A few days later, another attempted train robbery (hauling cleaning supplies) was frustrated by police in the same area. The following week robbers removed railroad spikes and derailed a passing cargo train near the same city. In another incident, robbers opened cargo hoppers on a train and stole bulk cement as it traveled through Tepeaca, Puebla. Also, a recent report from the Agencia Reguladora del Transporte Ferroviario (ARTF) revealed that 1752 train robberies occurred in Mexico during 2017. Veracruz was the leader with 276 of these incidents, followed by Puebla with 230 incidents.

Large department stores and supercenters were robbed with frequency this month; especially in Veracruz. For example, a Bodega Aurrerá, three Coppels, and an Elektra store were robbed in Veracruz. The Fundación Dondé was also robbed in Córdoba, Veracruz. Several security guards were injured when gunmen fired on them while they were protecting Pemex facilities in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The night watchman for a Pemex station under construction was murdered in Tepic, Nayarit. A security guard was killed when gunmen robbed payroll at a business in Reynosa. Five individuals attempted to steal from vaults in the La Razón newspaper office in Colonia Verónica Anzures of Mexico City. Evidence suggests that building workers may have also colluded in the attempted robbery.

Several banks were also robbed in Baja California and Veracruz. Bank customers were also robbed near the financial institutions following a withdrawal or prior to make deposits. These incidents were reported in Oaxaca and Veracruz. Also, a man was critically injured during an armed robbery at an ATM in Colonia Nápoles in Delegación Benito Juárez of Mexico City.

Also, there were numerous cases of individuals being injured or killed during robberies across the country. In one case, a grandmother was shot and killed during a robbery of her home in Nautla, Veracruz. An elderly man was killed during a robbery in Xalapa, Veracruz. A chicken delivery man was shot during a robbery in Coatepec, Veracruz. In two separate incidents, workers with the Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) were robbed in Maltrata and Zongolica, Veracruz.

Finally, in a few cases, the intended robbery victim successfully fought back against their assailants. In one case, an individual who was being attacked pulled his own revolver and chased away the assailants in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. The victim of a motorcycle theft chased down the perpetrator and stabbed him to death in Veracruz. In other cases, haste or ineptitude resulted in a failed robbery. For example, a would-be robber was accidentally shot and killed by his accomplices in Delegación de Iztapalapa of Mexico City. A security guard was injured during the scuffle. In another case, a motorcycle thief was critically injured during an accident while fleeing the scene in Veracruz.

Attacks on Authorities (April 2018)

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