A convoy of cartel gangsters rolled into a Oaxaca town Thursday night and announced they were there to stay.
Evidence of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) arriving in the northern municipality of Loma Bonita in an overt show of force turned up in the form of a 45-second video posted on social media, showing six vehicles bearing the initials CJNG on their sides.
In the trucks, individuals with masks over their faces are seen carrying heavy weaponry and shouting that the cartel had arrived in town.
The convoy drove to the municipal headquarters, the town’s Mother’s Monument and a shopping center, where they posted placards with a blunt message.
“Important notice for all the population of Loma Bonita and surrounding towns, we are the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel and we’re already here. We come to stay. We come for the gang of thieves, extorters, kidnappers, rustlers. Don’t be surprised when all the vermin disappear, because they don’t mind if they harm other families. We’ve got nothing against the town or its people, we only come for the aforementioned. CJNG.”
Local security officials reported that the public display of force created panic among the population.
A report this morning suggested there were at least 10 vehicles in the convoy and that local police made no effort to stop it.
However, hours later a mixed forces operation consisting of military personnel and state and federal police moved in to reinforce security in the municipality.
The cartel has a strong presence in the neighboring state of Veracruz, where crime rates have been on an upward trend and reports of organized crime-style executions have become more frequent.
According to data disclosed in 2015 by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States, the CJNG controls great swaths of territory in Oaxaca state, especially in the Costa, Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Cuenca del Papaloapan regions. Loma Bonita is located in the latter.
The CJNG convoy was led by a pickup truck that at first appeared to be a Federal Police vehicle, but criminal organizations have been known to “clone” such vehicles in the past.
Two were seized in July in the Michoacán municipality of Tangancícuaro, in an area where the CJNG is embroiled in a turf war with the Caballeros Templarios gang.
As in other regions of the country, violence is on the upswing in Oaxaca.
Data compiled by the executive secretariat of the National Public Security System (SNSP) shows that intentional homicides increased by 13% between January and September this year over the same period in 2016.