Mexico: Gang-Related Murders Up 22% in February

Mexico News Daily, March 1, 2017

There was at least one homicide linked to organized crime every hour during February, leading to a 22% increase in such murders compared to last year.

But following that report early this morning came another that indicates the situation might not be any better in March.

In a case described by the governor of Veracruz as a “worrying barbaric act,” the corpses of nine men and two women were discovered last night inside and alongside a parked van in Graciano Sánchez in the municipality of Boca del Río. The victims’ hands and feet were tied and there were signs of torture.

Miguel Ángel Yunes called for calm today, urging citizens not to feel threatened by what he described as a fight between criminal organizations and not an attack against the public. He said people should be aware that the government is working to address the problem.

He lamented the fact that the area is one in which stability had been maintained until now.

Two posters were left at the scene, signalling the start of a gang war. The hand-written message read: “From this moment on the war begins, a war they want, a war they shall have; they want to have all the power to insert their people but here we shall all die.”

The discovery came not many hours after federal and state officials met to discuss strengthening security in the state and the deployment of 140 National Gendarmerie officers in the municipalities of Córdoba and Xalapa.

Public Security Secretary Jaime Téllez Marie said today that security is being reinforced in the Veracruz-Boca del Río metropolitan area.

He said there have been no arrests in last night’s murders, which puts the month off to a bad start. The year has already started badly with a sharp increase in crime gang homicides, according to data compiled by the newspaper Milenio.

There were 964 homicides related to organized crime last month, bringing the total for the year so far to 1,986, up 32% over 2016.

Just five states recorded 53% of all homicides linked to drug trafficking: Chihuahua, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Veracruz and Michoacán.

The most violent state was Chihuahua, with 128 executions, five fewer than those registered in January.

With 122 homicides — down 14% from January — Guerrero was in second place, while the situation in the state of Guanajuato was the worst it has ever been with 103 cases. February was the worst month according to Milenio’s records.

The 184 homicides registered so far this year in the state are a sharp increase from the 85 cases reported during the same period in 2016.

The only states that closed the month with zero homicide reports were Yucatán and Querétaro.

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