Original story in EFE
The street blockades and attacks in Guadalajara, the capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco, were a response by the La Resistencia gang to the arrests of two of its leaders, Gov. Emilio Gonzalez Marquez said.
The gang leaders were arrested on Tuesday morning, sparking the violence in Mexico’s second-largest city, Gonzalez Marquez said.
Gang members set off a grenade, torched cars and buses, staged “narco-blockades” of the city’s main streets and battled police on Wednesday.
Mexico’s drug gangs frequently use vehicles as barricades during attacks or gun battles to prevent police reinforcements from arriving at the scene.
No one was killed in the violent incidents, Jalisco officials said in a preliminary report, while municipal officials in the Guadalajara suburb of Tonala said a police officer was slightly wounded in a grenade attack.
“The incidents ... are a reaction to the work in recent days by the authorities, who have arrested criminals who belong to this criminal organization (La Resistencia),” Gonzalez Marquez, a member of the conservative National Action Party, said in a press conference.
Gang leaders Julio Cesar Cervantes Hernandez and Bernardo Arroyo Moreno were paraded before reporters on Wednesday by the state Public Safety Secretariat.
Cervantes acted as a go-between with other La Resistencia leaders and cells in Jalisco, officials said.
The two suspected gang leaders have been linked to 10 other drug traffickers arrested on Jan. 16. The drug traffickers were armed with grenades and a rocket launcher at the time of their arrest.
La Resistencia is considered close to La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico’s largest drug trafficking organizations.
An emergency meeting at Casa Jalisco, the governor’s residence, lasted about four hours.
Federal, state and local officials agreed to improve coordination of operations targeting organized crime groups, who “are trying to discredit and divide the security forces,” the governor said.
“We cannot send signals and give them credibility. There are concrete facts in the investigation to link these acts to the arrests we made,” Gonzalez Marquez said.
Officials in Jalisco denied reports that they were going to request the deployment of army troops to bolster patrols in Guadalajara, but they said soldiers would patrol the state’s borders with Zacatecas, Michoacan and Nayarit.
The state government, however, is being asked to provide a loan of 1 billion pesos ($83 million) to buy security cameras that will be installed at important sites across Guadalajara and other equipment to help maintain order.
Guadalajara is hosting the Pan American Games from Oct. 14-30, but Gonzalez Marquez said security would not be a problem during the sports event.
Banners signed by the Milenio cartel and hung on bridges in the city last Friday warned Gonzalez Marquez that “Jalisco could go up in flames” and called on him to “impose order” on the state police, headed by Luis Carlos Najera.
Jalisco’s state police, according to anonymous allegations, only fights some criminal gangs while protecting others.
Before this week, Jalisco had been relatively untouched by the drug-related violence that has claimed more than 34,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006.
That was the month President Felipe Calderon took office and almost immediately declared war on Mexico’s cartels, deploying tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers nationwide.
The strategy has led to the elimination of several crime bosses and record drug seizures over the past four years, including the confiscation of 23 tons of cocaine in a single operation in November 2007.
But the amount of seized drugs represents a small percentage of the estimated total that originates in or is smuggled through Mexico.