León is Mexico’s seventh most populous city with 1.2 million inhabitants, located in the central highland state of Guanajuato between San Luis Potosi, a Zeta enclave, to the north and Michoacan, home of La Familia Michoacana (LFM), to the south.
León is known internationally for its leather exports but has recently become another urban organized crime battleground.
Leon also has a thriving “narcomenudeo”, or illicit retail drug sales market. Domestic hard drug use, once a rarity in Mexico, has been a rapidly expanding phenomenon as inexpensive cocaine and methamphetamines leak out of the trafficking pipeline headed north and saturate entire areas of the nation.
Since the 1990’s, the organized crime “Plaza” of Leon had been under the control of the Sinaloa Cartel and Chapo Guzmán. But in 2008, the control of the plaza was left to the LFM. Hundreds of killers and drug dealers from Michoacan invaded Guanajuato to take over the state’s criminal underworld.
According to an interview granted to El Milenio by Servando Gomez “La Tuta”, a top LFM leader, La Familia entered Guanajuato only to create a buffer state that would serve to protect the people of Michoacan from their mortal enemies, Los Zetas.
Of course that is only part of the picture, the hypocritical LFM was also poised to exploit and defend their expansion of criminal profits in Leon and the rest of the state.
“La plaza se calento”
The violence took off when Los Zetas entered Guanajuato to try to get to Michoacán. In 2008 there were several severe clashes between the two groups in the streets of Leon.
Several police officers were killed and the Federal Police were attacked on Airport Boulevard. Zetas from the states of Zacatecas and Tamaulipas were sent to take control of León according to authorities who captured several of these men.
León had a very difficult year and a half until Los Zetas withdrew in late 2009 and early 2010 according to government intelligence reports. There were 135 executions linked to organized crime in León in 2009.
So far this year 68 executions have been reported but the rate of killings have been increasing recently.
It is believed that the appointment of María Guadalupe Anguiano as the head of Public Security in León on October 2009 had been a factor in clamping down on the violence and insecurity.
Anguiano is a Major in the Mexican Army and a specialist in military justice and had previously prosecuted two Army generals for links to organized crime.
However, Anguiano resigned her post and re-entered the military along with two other military officers that headed the León police force in July, 2010, under pressure for human rights abuses.
The León municipal police force is also the only Mexican municipal police force to be recognized by CALEA, the Comission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies based in the U.S., and is well on its way to receiving accreditation.
Otra vez estan aquí
The León police force will need all the talent and skills it possesses because it seems Los Zetas have returned, poised to again fight for control of organized crime in the city.
Their presence has already led to a series of executions that have reignited the dispute between the LFM and Los Zetas.
There are several reports of probes by Zetas hanging around the region. These are the first attempts. This will not be a great offensive like in 2008 and early 2009, but a war of attrition waged by several bands of criminals already operating in León that have joined with Los Zetas, supported by a few reinforcements sent from other states.
Leon is again sinking into insecurity.
145 "Narco" casas
At least 145 illegal drug outlets in homes have been spotted in León, says a report of the municipal Public Security Secretariat. These sites of retail drug sales are all over León
The two most common drugs sold are marijuana and cocaine. The study shows that these drugs have displaced inhalents as drugs of initiation as they become cheaper.
The report indicates that cocaine and its derivatives such as crack, as well as synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine, have greatly increased their demand. Marijuana is still the drug of choice, although the low cost of cocaine and its easy availability makes it increasingly accessible to the population.
One gram of cocaine is priced at almost 100 pesos and this has allowed the drug to gain ground in sales. It may soon pass marijuana as the drug of choice.
Amphetamines and methamphetamines have also experienced a boom in black market drug sales.
In León, the population most at risk of falling into drug addiction is found in the age range of 12 to 34 years. It is estimated that there are 5,722 women who use crack cocaine regularly.
“Ojalá La Familia cuidara toda la República”: La Tuta http://impreso.milenio.com/node/8621968
Los Zetas regresaron a León
Detectan en León 145 narco casas
Matan en León a una persona ya son 68 ejecutados