MEXICO: Cartel-Aligned Gang Terrorizes Ciudad Juarez in Response to Prison Raid

Photo: Aftermath of an attack launched in response to a proposed prison raid in Ciudad Juarez

By Nélida Tello

The ongoing feud between Mexican authorities and criminal groups intensified on Tuesday in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, after inmates received intelligence about a planned raid at the Central Facility for Social Rehabilitation (Cereso) number three.

Acts of terror were carried out between Tuesday afternoon and the early hours of Wednesday to intimidate authorities from raiding the Cereso. 15 vehicles were set on fire, ten people were killed, and six others were injured as “Los Mexicles,” an armed gang affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel, carried out orders from inside the Cereso. The office of State Attorney General of Chihuahua was riddled with bullets as part of the attacks.

Bus burned by Los Mexicles in Ciudad Juarez

Of the 15 vehicles set ablaze, ten were public transportation buses. One of the buses that was targeted carried factory workers returning home from work at the Lear Corporation, and burned inside the factory parking lot. At 2:00 am on Wednesday, four other buses were burned at a major intersection, as workers attempted to escape the burning buses they were shot at, resulting in six injuries.

Chihuahua governor Javier Corral Jurado stated that the raid was meant to search and detect weapons, drugs, and other contraband in the prison. The raid was carried out by 850 city, state, and federal officials as well as the National Guard.

City officials named Los Mexicles responsible for the terror unleashed throughout the city. Four suspects were arrested, and it was revealed that they were paid by the cartel in methamphetamine.

Vehicles burning admist crossfire in the intersection of Enrique Cabrera and Enrique Félix in Culiacán

The attacks carried out in the Ciudad Juarez ring were similar to the terror unleashed in Culiacán, Sinaloa last month. Then, El Chapo’s son, Ovidio Guzmán, was arrested by police during a house raid. The Sinaloa Cartel subsequently declared war on city authorities, exchanging fire in the middle of the city with police and the military. The cartel carried out a jailbreak in which 51 inmates fled and successfully shut down the airport, roads, and government buildings during the crossfire, which took the lives of eight people.

Guzmán was released to avoid any further escalation of the conflict between the cartel and Mexican authorities. Video surfaced of Mexican soldiers shaking hands with the cartel as they settled the disagreement and released Guzmán.

Whether allied or feuding, the Mexican ruling class and the cartels settle their disputes at the expense of the Mexican working class and peasantry.

Both the Mexican state and the cartels serve US imperialism. Bureaucratic capitalism creates the conditions for cartels to exists and compete for power with the Mexican bourgeoisie.

Despite the anti-cartel posturing of Trump, tweeting “time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” it is in the interest of US imperialism for the cartels to compete with the Mexican government for power, reinforcing the terms of national oppression.