The crime rate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, has fallen this month, with kidnappings, extortion and murders all down, the Public Safety Secretariat said.
The Federal Police has deployed some 5,000 officers in Juarez, taking control of public safety functions in the border city on April 9 and achieving a drop in crime in recent months, the secretariat said.
A total of 299 drug-related murders were registered in Ciudad Juarez in October, while 150 murders have been reported so far in November, the federal agency said.
Kidnappings have “shown a downward tendency, being reduced by half in the past month, falling from 14 cases in October to 7 so far in the month of November,” the secretariat said in a statement released Monday.
A total of 36 extortion cases have been registered in November, down from the 42 cases reported in September and the 56 cases registered in October.
More than 2,700 people have been murdered this year in Ciudad Juarez, topping the homicide figure for all of last year in the border city, press tallies show.
The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, backed by hitmen from local street gangs, have been fighting for control of Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Arturo Gallegos, the suspected leader of the Los Aztecas gang, was arrested by Federal Police officers for his alleged role in 80 percent of the killings carried out in the past year in Ciudad Juarez, officials said over the weekend.
Gallegos is accused of being responsible, among other killings, for the massacre of 16 people attending a birthday party on Jan. 31 in the border city’s Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood.
The gang leader, who is also accused of killing two employees of the U.S. Consulate in Juarez and five Federal Police officers, was arrested along with two suspected accomplices.
The 32-year-old Gallegos was arrested during an operation targeting Los Aztecas, officials said.
The border city, where more than 8,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The Mexico City daily Reforma reported recently that gangland killings have topped 10,000 this year.