Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Over 2,700 Shots Fired in Attack on Mexican Official

Relatives of two killed bodyguards cry during their funeral in Morelia April 25, 2010. Two bodyguards who were part of a police team and two civilians were killed and at least eight people injured, including Michoacan State Secretary of Public Security Minerva Bautista Gomez, in an attack by hitmen on Bautista Gomez's convoy last Friday, local media reported.

State of Michoacan - More than 2,700 large-caliber rounds were fired in last weekend’s failed attempt on the life of the public safety secretary of the western Mexican state of Michoacan, state official Fidel Calderon said.

“Organized crime, unfortunately, has great firepower capacity,” the official said, adding that Public Safety Secretary Minerva Bautista Gomez, who was wounded in the attack, “is stable, she’ll leave the hospital very soon.”

An injured bodyguard of State Secretary of Public Security Minerva Bautista Gomez is being taken away after a shoot-out in Morelia April 24, 2010. Bautista Gomez was seriously injured, two of her bodyguards and two civilians killed and at least eight people injured in an attack by hitmen who had previously blocked the road with a trailer truck, according to local media.

The secretary and her bodyguards were attacked early Saturday on a highway in Michoacan that was blocked with a trailer by the hit squad.

Two bodyguards and two civilians were killed in the attack, while Bautista and nine other people were wounded.

Michoacan is dominated by the La Familia Michoacana cartel, which has been battling other criminal organizations for control of the state in recent months.

The cartels have been fighting each other and the security forces, unleashing a wave of violence in the state.

The body of a man lies on the road after a shoot-out in Morelia April 24, 2010.

Gunmen working for the criminal organizations have used a variety of weapons, including AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles, .50-caliber Barrett rifles capable of downing a helicopter and rocket-propelled grenades, in attacks.

Mexico has been plagued in recent years by drug-related violence blamed on powerful cartels.

The country’s largest drug trafficking organizations, according to experts, are the Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez, Beltran Leyva and Los Zetas cartels, and La Familia Michoacana.

A classified report provided recently by the government to senators estimated 22,743 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in December 2006.

Press tallies had put the number of people killed in drug-related violence since Calderon took office at 18,000.

The classified report estimates the death toll for this year, as of April 13, at 2,904.

Calderon has deployed 50,000 soldiers and 20,000 Federal Police officers nationwide to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.

Some analysts, moreover, say the government has not targeted money laundering, allowing the cartels to retain the resources needed to fight back.

The Facts:

Near them 01:00 hours, time of the center of Mexico, the secretary of Public Security of the state of Michoacan, Minerva Bautista Gómez, suffered an assault together with her escorts and civil others when they were returning from the local fair, inaugurated hours before.


For the first investigations it is known that the attackers used a truck of load to obstruct the way, a trap of which the civil servant could not escape because this section of the road is blocked in the sides.

Once stretched the ambush, the attackers shot several times at the light truck of the secretary and at the car of her escorts, besides other three vehicles of civilians who remained caught in the gunfire.

The delinquents used Barret rifles, caliber 40 mm., as well as machine guns AK-47 and two fragmentation grenades. As result, three persons died in the place, two of them were escorts of the civil servant and other one a civilian. Also there were eight wounded persons.

Minerva Bautista Gómez was moved to a private hospital in Morelia's city, where she is reported like out of danger, since only she suffered a wound in a side thanks to the shielding of her light truck. Up to this moment, the authorities do not know the identity of the aggressors.

Throughout the day it increased the number of injured men and died by the assault against the secretary of public security of Michoacan, Minerva Bautista Gómez.

It is known that two of the deceased were escorts of the civil servant. Their names are Gilberto Molinero and Francisco García Torral. Of the civil victims the names are not known.



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