Friday, July 15, 2011
12 "Grupo Elite" Sinaloa state police officers killed in Guasave ambush
Two hours after a group of State Preventive Police officers were attacked in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, a convoy of “Grupo Elite” officers, an elite unit of Sinloa’s State Police used in operations against organized crime, was ambushed on Federal Highway 15 in the municipality of Guasave, leaving a toll of 12 officers and a civilian dead.
The attack occurred at approximately 6:00pm today.
The officers were returning from northern Sinaloa to their base in the state capitol of Culiacan after providing security in Los Mochis for the director of Sinaloa’s Department of Public Safety, Francisco Cordova Celaya, during a function in that northern Sinaloa city.
Cordova Celaya, whose office confirmed the deaths, was not with the officers as he had flown to Culiacan via helicopter.
The dead civilian was identified as Alvaro Gallardo, 29, a driver for a food distributor who was caught in the ambush.
Ealier in the afternoon a unit of State Preventive Police was ambushed in the Jiquilpan section of Los Mochis and municipal police officers were attacked in the Tepeca area of the city. No fatalities were reported in these attacks but several officers were injured.
It is unknown if any gunmen were killed or captured during the shootings in Los Mochis and Guasave.
On May 30 of this year up to 19 "narco” banners were hung in several municipalities of Sinaloa, including Guasave and Culiacan, accusing Governor Mario Lopez Valdez of having links to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and calling the Grupo Elite a paramilitary arm of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The banners were hung by Beltran Leyva loyalists, known locally as Mazatlecos or Mochomeros, who accuse the Grupo Elite force of attempting to sweep them out of their stronghold in northern Sinaloa and leaving the area open for El Chapo Guzman.