[COLIMA IS LISTED AS A DO NOT TRAVEL TO STATE IN MEXICO. MAZANILLO IS THE PORT CITY OF COLIMA AND WELL KNOWN TO TOURISTS. BUT OFF THE MAIN STREETS OF MAZANILLO, AS ACAPULCO, IS A VIOLENT COUNTRY. IN FACT COLIMA IS PROBABLY THE MOST VIOLENT PER CAPITA, EVEN THOUGH ONE MILLION OR LESS LIVE IN THAT STATE]
From Insight Crime: https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/colima-mexico-homicides-cartels/
Why One of Mexico’s Smallest States Is Also Its Most Violent
A series of assassinations of high-profile public figures in Colima marks the latest manifestation of violence in one of Mexico’s smallest yet deadliest states — a dubious honor attributable to Colima’s location along the territorial fault lines dividing Mexico’s most powerful cartels.
Colima, with a population of less than one million, has topped Mexico’s murder per capita list every year since 2016. In 2019, the state finished with a rate of 97 homicides per 100,000 residents — far outpacing Baja California, which had the second-highest rate at 80 homicides per 100,000 residents.
This year, Colima has registered more femicides than any other state. It’s also one of five states that accounted for more than 50 percent of the clandestine mass graves exhumed during the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The coastal state was once considered one of Mexico’s safest and most desirable vacation spots. Its murder rate in 2015 was one-third of what it is now.
Accompanying this rise in violence has been a series of brazen and public murders of high-profile political and social leaders in Colima.
On June 16, hitmen fired more than twenty shots in the killing of Uriel Villegas Ortiz, a Colima federal judge, and his wife, Verónica Barajas, in the state’s capital city. Villegas Ortiz had delivered judgments in several cases involving top Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG) and Sinaloa Cartel leaders.
Two weeks before that, authorities discovered the body of Colima congresswoman Anel Bueno in an unmarked grave. She had been abducted more than a month earlier by a group of armed men in broad daylight as she partook in an event to promote a new sanitation project amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Villegas Ortiz and Bueno are just two of at least a dozen public figures assassinated in Colima since 2010 — a list that includes lawyers, ministry officials and the state’s former governor.
The key to understanding violence in Colima is its location along invaluable drug trafficking routes.
Manzanillo, the state’s largest town and main port, serves as an arrival point for chemical precursors from Asia and a transit point for drugs moving towards the United States and Europe, according to Mexican journalist and organized crime expert Óscar Balderas.
Some of the largest cocaine seizures in Mexican history have taken place in the Pacific port city.
“The port of Manzanillo is one of the most active and coveted ports for the drug cartels,” Balderas told InSight Crime in a text message.
When Colima first began its downward spiral in 2016, Manzanillo was also at the center. A spike in homicides then was attributed to a three-way power struggle between the Sinaloa Cartel, CJNG and the Zetas over Colima’s coastal trafficking routes.
The violence also seemed to coincide with internal Sinaloa Cartel turmoil in the absence of its kingpin, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias “El Chapo.” This strife allowed the CJNG to make gains in Colima, according to Balderas.
The result was 206 homicides in the first four months of 2016, up from 44 homicides across the same four months in 2015.
Since then, Mexico’s criminal landscape has become more fractured, birthing smaller cells that have resorted to extreme violence in pursuit of territory and legitimacy — a phenomenon that has made its way to Colima, too.
Citing official documents from the federal government’s security cabinet, Excelsior and Colima Noticias reported in February the presence of at least four different criminal groups in Colima.
According to the reports, the CJNG struck an alliance in 2019 with former members of the nearly defunct Arellano Félix Organization from Tijuana, who are now acting as Jalisco enforcers in Colima under the new name Tijuana Cartel New Generation (Cartel Tijuana Nueva Generación – CTNG).
At the same time, a group called Los Troyanos, an armed wing of the Nueva Familia Michoacana, has also allegedly been operating in Colima. Sinaloa Cartel elements are also believed to still have a presence in the state.
This fragmented criminal scene has collided with political instability, according to security analyst Alejandro Hope. Colima has swung for a different political party in each of the last three presidential elections and cycled through eight governors in the last twenty years.
“Colima has kind of plateaued at this very high level of violence,” Hope told InSight Crime. “It’s not clear if its organized crime violence or political violence, or a combination.”
Thank you for putting Colima on the radar. For how much violence is going on, and for how small the state is (as you’ve also said), it is quite sad.
Manzanillo is a crucial port and last I heard CDS were fighting CJNG for this stake. I see now there is much more going on, and was curious who all the major players are. Very interesting how TJ is offering their services to CJNG. It might be beneficial to have Tijuanos fighting in Colima, as they would be unrecognizable, and vice versa for the Jalisco guys in Baja.. “Out of Town Hitters” is what they used to call such tactics..
It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.
This post was updated on .
El Bujo, I'm an avid hiker who likes to travel to volcanos and hike rims From Nicaragua, to Hawaii and Mexico I've had the pleasure to witness the power and bowels of the earth.
Traveling to Colima, we wanted to visit Paricutin Volcano Michoacan first , but due to security we were turned back in Michoacan and later in Colima The cartels kept the wonderful treasures inaccessible.
Watch this video from 1943, the eruption of Paricutin Volcano that began in a small farm field after an earthquake, and developed into a monster volcano. The most interesting video I had watched based on a myth, but later verified story of this plowed field yielding a destroying volcano. It wiped out the complete town, which we endeavored to get to. Anyway a much watch of anything Mexico, thanks cartel for making it inaccessible to the world in general.
Take 9 minutes, completely remarkable footage. Turn up the volume, go full screen from 1943. Cheers
[BREAKING NEWS, THE SCORPION IS CHARGED WITH THE MURDER IN COLIMA OF JUDGE VILLEGAS AND HIS WIFE]
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Mexican authorities say they have captured an alleged Jalisco cartel hitman suspected of murdering a federal judge and a lawmaker from the state of Colima.
Jaime Tafolla Ortega, a.k.a. “El Alacran” (The Scorpion), allegedly gunned down Judge Uriel Villegas Ortiz and his wife, Veronica Barajas, on June 16, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said in a statement. Tafolla is also suspected of leading the Arpil 29 abduction of Colima state Rep. Anel Bueno Sanchez, whose body was found in a clandestine grave on June 2.
Tafolla was arrested by Mexican marines and federal police Sunday in Colima, along with a second man who has not been charged yet, the AG’s Office said.
Villegas gained notoriety in 2018 when he ordered the transfer of Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez from a jail in Oaxaca to a maximum security prison in Jalisco. Oseguera, son of Jalisco cartel drug lord Nemesio Oseguera, a.k.a. “El Mencho,” was extradited this year to the U.S. to face drug charges.
Tafolla and a team of assassins allegedly gunned down the judge and his wife coming out of their home in the Real Vista neighborhood in Colima earlier this month.
Prior to his death, the judge had issued a warrant for the arrest of Tafolla and Ayard Buenrostro in connection with the murder of Bueno, Mexican authorities said.
Mexican press reports say the judge also issued a search warrant which resulted in the arrest of Tafolla’s parents and brother on drugs and weapons charges.
[HOPEFULLY THIS NEWS WILL BEAR OUT THE TRUTH ON THE MURDER OF JUDGE VILLEGAS AND HIS WIFE. APPEARED THAT JUDGE VILLEGAS PUT HIS LIFE OUT THERE TO DO HIS DUTIES AS A JUDGE. YOU HOPE AT LEAST.]
That's what it seems like, and more people that honor and perform their duties in law enforcement are needed in Mexico. With police, politicians and now judges being murdered with total impunity made me sad with a sense of hopelessness for Mexico's future. But this news has brought a small sliver of light to this darkness and once again my faith is flying high. If the officials are currupt they shouldn't spend a dime nor time on their case, but if the official died for performing their duties and/or refusing to being currupted, then the culprits should be hunted down like dogs with every available resource being accessible with no limit. Just my humble opinion and my soul rattling feeling.
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