Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Forget Cliff Diving, Acapulco Now Known as Hot Spot in Mexico's Drug War

Thursday, August 25, 2011 |

The days of jet set vacationing in Acapulco are long gone, but the Mexican resort city is once again in the news, this time for drug violence. It is one of the few tourist spots in Mexico suffering from public shootouts.

By: Patrick Corcoran

Moises Montero, aka 'The Korean', was arrested this month as the alleged leader of the ' Independent' drug cartel of Acapulco. He is suspected in the kidnapping and killing of 20 Mexican tourists in Acapulco in 2010.

While many of Mexico’s tourist areas have remained separate from the bouts of drug violence buffeting the country, the popular resort city of Acapulco has emerged as one of the new hot spots of organized crime.

A bloody week in which more than two dozen people were killed, and five decapitated bodies were found around the city, is the latest marker of Acapulco’s decline.

As Excelsior reports, many of those murdered in the resort were taxi drivers, who often work as lookouts for one drug gang or another. On the year, 42 cab drivers have been murdered in the city, according to figures from the newspaper Reforma.

The recent wave of violence has led to a broader spike in crimes against the population in this port city, including people unconnected to organized crime.

Twenty-three local gasoline stations shut their doors for three hours on Friday to protest against increased extortion demands, while authorities reported a 20-fold rise in car robberies along the famed Autopista del Sol, or Highway of the Sun, which connects Acapulco to Mexico City. After a series of robberies on shops last week, a handful of jewelers in the city’s downtown announced a weekend shutdown to take a stand against the violence.

As of early August, 650 people had been killed in Acapulco in 2011, making it perhaps the bloodiest big city in Mexico after Juarez.

Acapulco’s body count has been strikingly high for a number of years.

As a key entryway for South American cocaine, the city has long been an attractive piece of real estate for drug gangs, with agents of the Sinaloa Cartel battling the Zetas as far back as 2005. But breakdowns in the coherence of the hegemonic networks in Mexico have transformed Acapulco from the site of a battle between two competing gangs to an anarchic mess of newer groups.

Much of the recent surge in violence stems from battles between the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (known as CIDA for its initials in Spanish), which is made up of the remains of the network run by Edgar Valdez Villarreal until his arrest in September 2010, and the South Pacific Cartel, a newly emerging gang that is loosely affiliated with the Beltran Leyvas.

Other smaller gangs such as the Barredora, which saw 10 members arrested for a litany of crimes earlier this month, are also carving out a toehold. The increase in petty crimes like armed robbery and car theft also suggests a rise in smaller groups capitalizing on the climate of insecurity, though they are less active in the international cocaine trade.

At the same time, larger groups like the Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, and the Familia Michoacana continue to compete for space in this city of some 700,000 residents.

Authorities say that the recent rash of murders in Acapulco stems from the arrest of CIDA boss Moises Montero Alvarez, alias "El Coreano" earlier this month, as others in the region fight over the scraps of his network.

While violence in Mexico has by and large sidestepped the nation’s vital tourism industry, the killings in Acapulco have been enough to drive down the number of foreign visitors, according to some local proprietors.

Mexican tourists still flock to Acapulco, though not without at least some danger: almost two dozen residents of nearby Michoacan were abducted and killed late last year, after being mistaken for members of the Familia.

Local officials have struggled to find an answer to the insecurity. Manuel Añorve Baños, the mayor of Acapulco, has been requesting federal security reinforcements for months, as local police have proven unable to tamp down on the violence hitting the city.

Of course, there already is a substantial federal presence in and around Acapulco, and it has done little to rein in the violence.

Other officials have suggested different tactics: the attorney general in Acapulco’s home state of Guerrero, Alberto Lopez Rosas, provoked controversy earlier this week when he called for a pact among the competing groups to reduce the violence.

Lopez Rosas was subsequently obliged to clarify that he was not proposing that the government strike a truce with criminal groups, but only that the gangs follow certain rules of behavior among themselves.

--- Patrick Corcoran is a writer for Insight – Organized Crime in the Americas, which provides research, analysis, and investigation of the criminal world throughout the region.

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14 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

The battle is between CIDA and La Barredora (CDS)


CorrePorELBosque*

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, "While many of Mexico's tourist areas have remained separate from the bouts of drug violence." Has Patrick Corcoran been reading what you and I have. He talks like Acapulco and a few border towns are the only places with violence and tourism in Mexico is alive and well. I wonder if he is aware that according to blogdelnarco, 32 innocent people, mostly women, were murdered in a casino in Monterey today and 50 were injured. That is the chosen city, that almost got a Major League Baseball team.

I personally see it that Calderon feels war is more important than peace and tourism for Mexico. How about some under the table truce negotiations Felipe?

ajulio said...

" A handful of jewelers in the city's downtown announced a weekend shutdown to take a stand against the violence."

That's it?

It was a few days ago that a group of criminals practically took a stadium of thousands of people hostage. When the gunmen shot their guns, everyone in the stadium ducked at the same time. They were so paralized by the fear of getting shot that everyone in that stadium got on their hands and knees. The really frightened ones got on their stomaches, completely submitting to the gunmen.

This makes me sick to see so many Mexican people showing complete fear and submission instead of showing self defense and unity. These same people are the ones who arrive in groups at a crime scene and stand on the outside for almost an hour staring at a dead mutilated body on the streets, like they're watching some kind of freakshow.

Mexican citizens have proven themselves too passive and too scared. They prefer to be victims and slaves to the cartels and choose to be oppressed instead of fighting for their freedom. It's a shame that the cartels have control of an entire country.

Acapulco is gonna get worse if the citizens don't fight for their city. What happened to groups like Mata zetas? Now those people had some Huevos.

ajulio said...

Pendejo Calderon has really screwed this one up. I don't care what anyone says. The one to blame, is the government and it's leader. If the leader is'nt doing enough, then he will be held most responsible and Calderon is responsible for Acapulco. First he attacked Juarez and with the help of El chapo, destroyed it. Tamaulipas, Monterrey, now Acapulco. These cities are falling like dominoes.

Congratulations Pendejo Calderon!

J said...

lol at people watching a soccer game turning into Mcgyver or Judge Dread and taking down the gunmen when they are unarmed and have no idea what is going on, only hearing gun shots. I don't mean to insult or belittle, but the whole 'blame the victim' thing in regards to these things is pretty despicable. Also, lol at going to the ground and covering yourself and your loved ones 'submitting to the gunmen'.

Anonymous said...

@ajulio - you are right on the money brother.

I don't know why these good people are cowering in the face of such atrocities. I would imagine because of fear, but when you have a family to consider, your protective instincts kick into overdrive. How long is this going to go on before the pathetic excuse of a Mexican Gov't buries their pride in the sand and asks for FUCKING HELP? Another few hundred thousand dead?

Given, the US has a lot to do with the violence in Mexico because we as a people are stupid for using Mexico's drugs - but on the same token, it's the people in the villages, in the neighborhoods, in the barrios even that need to man up and take some of these assholes down. There will be bloodshed, but these guys will think twice before "heating up the plaza".

The Mexican Gov't should read these posts once in a blue moon - maybe they should use some of the well constructed and well thought out ideas of how to go about facing their demons. As it stands, their "strateeeeeeeegery" isn't doing shit but causing more problems. I understand it's a huge undertaking, but allowing these jack offs TV, weekend furloughs etc isn't going to solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention what "el koreano" mentioned,that all Acapulco was bought by the beltran leyvas.


This fighting in Acapulco is still between barbies group and BLO,La Barredora (CDS).

ajulio said...

@ J

lol just turn on your t.v. and see how the people from Libya are fighting back lol against an evil government lol and see how close they are to taking back their country lol. But i can't even imagine the Mexican people taking back Monterrey from the cartels or going to Calderon's home every damn day and making a lot of F' NOISE! lol

@ 11:42

Everything you said, i agree with. The U.S. is to blame too. Just giving Mexico weapons and a lil' training is'nt enough.

Mexico needs to ask for more help from the U.S.
Mexico is a country full of potentials and beauty of all kinds that would benefit from better leadership. Plus no one can outwork a Mexican. But instead of constructing a better country for tourism and domestic manufacturing, these same Mexicans are working for foreign companies and drug cartels. The U.S. is partly responsible for this and so is the Mexican gov.

I've said it too. Pendejo Calderon should read these posts from the real people and could learn a lot.

What pisses me off is that Pendejo Calderon does'nt help the mayors, police chiefs, etc. who are risking their lives as well as their families' and trying to do good to fight the cartels and make a better Mexico. For example, the mayor of Juarez and Leyzaola who are trying to clean up Juarez. Leyzaola even went directly to Calderon after the federal police tried to kill him, to plead his case and Calderon just turned his back on him.

There are too many ignorant people turning their backs in Mexico right now.

Anonymous said...

La Familia Michiocana is now with Beltran Leyva,Zetas,Cartel de Juarez.

Anonymous said...

I agree with J but i would say it my own way i think the people that put down that the mexican people were submitting or cowering are pretty stupid in my book they say to stand up to the cartels like if it was that simple im sure they wouldnt do anything in those situations they just talk what other people should do but they wouldnt do it themselves if they had no weapons and caught offguard or even if they had guns regular citizens in mexico cant buy high powered firearms like AK 47s or AR-15s it wouldnt be a good battle with an average citizen with a 6 round revolver handgun and a cartel member with a fully loaded Ak 47

Anonymous said...

your not fighting a person, your figting the unknown. i know the house and the people affected by the killing of the zalcualpan mayor last week. a fmily friend is still missing. you cant fight what you cant see, police, military and countless important people are working for these cartels how can a everyday laboror rise up agaist that, you saywhy do i belive this, 4 military guarding the house in zalcualpan not one of the four get killed and all get disarmed by people in pick-up trucks that oviously have to jump from the truck to the ground and these guys couldnt get one shot off. thats crap and i know it now a friends life and fate is unknown cause they got a few more pesos in their pocket. a man that worked his ass off everday to provide for his family.

Anonymous said...

I am not reading anywhere where they are identifying who in the government is owned??? Is this not important???

I once rented a luxury condo in Diamante. I was told that the condo was owned by someone in the military ... and in fact he had two!!!!

You don't have to be an Einstein to figure out that a military person does not make that kind of money. Everyone turns a blinds eye to this sort of thing. It's sort of a joke!!!!

Everyone is corrupt in Acapulco ... from the simple vendor to the Mayor ... take your pick!!!

And for your general information ... foreign tourist have not been interested in Acapulco for many years ... way before this violence!

Anonymous said...

You guys are funny blaming Calderon to know end saying the government isn't doing anything or enough. Why do you think all these low lives are being apprehended one by one. It's the Federal Government of Mexico trying to clean this mess up. yeah things seemed peaceful, but were they before Calderon? You guys never seem to care the power and the violence the cartels had before the "drug war" It's a fair debate whether taking on the cartels was stupid or not, but to think things were so good before is not really debatable.
This was all one big ticking time bomb....It definitely sucks now big time, but in time things will get better hopefully.....Calderon took on more than he can chew, but it had to start somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Texcoco Mex said

I agree with you @ August 26, 2011 8:54 AM I'm not an expert but I do think Calderon had no choice but to fight the cartels, is just to bad congress don't let him use all the available military.

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