Rio Doce. 7-16-2012Tetamboca, El Fuerte, Sin.-- In this ranch area, there is still the echo of the more than 2,000 shots that were fired in a bloody clash between an elite group of State Ministerial Police agents and a a cell of hit men working for the Beltran Leyva-Carrillo-Zetas triad that left eleven dead.
In the fight, the police took the most casualties, although, according to the state's attorney general's office (Procuraduria General de Justicia del Estado; PGJE), the mafia group lost one of its leaders, Juan Pablo Osuna Lizarraga, known by his code name "Cien" or his alias "El Mapache" (Raccoon), and two of his lieutenants, Alfonso Enriquez Enriquez and Gustavo Ismael Soto Nunez, this last was one of his sharpshooters.
In May of 2010, El Cien assumed control of the Mazatlecos in Los Mochis after the arrest of his close associate (compadre) Geovany Lizarraga Ontiveros, aka "El Desconocido" or "El 120", who, it turns out, is the brother of Samuel Lizarraga Ontiveros, aka "El Tortillero", who controls Mazatlan. Geovany Lizaraga Ontiveros ascended to "jefe de plaza" (city crime boss) through his uncle Santiago Lizarraga Ibarra, El Chaquin, chief of the Nayarit cell, who was killed in 2010 in Tepic in a confrontation with federal police officers.
Additional information from military and ministerial sources who had access to the interrogation of suspects in earlier incidents shows that, despite the loss of lives, neither of the adversaries fell apart [during the confrontation]; the ministerial police officers regrouped immediately, while the gangsters promoted men on the spot. There's also talk that new operatives arrived to reinforce the attack perimeter and [keep open] the only land route for supplies and personnel for the siege of Choix, which the Beltran Leyva triad has maintained for two months to take control of the marijuana and gum opium producing area from the Sinaloa cartel: the Golden Triangle.
The reports state that the attack was carried out by the group "Los Chacales", an armed clandestine group that maintains access routes and highways for the Mazatlecos from the Los Mochis north exit to Jahuara, El Fuerte. According to evidence compiled by the PGJE at the scene, on Monday, June 9, the state forces were attacked when they were returning on Highway 44, Los Mochis-El Fuerte, from patrol operations in Choix after the assassination of Municipal Police Chief Hector Echavarria Islas, which took place March 29. They were to be relieved the next day. The shooters were placed on the right hand slope of a hill.
After the first volley of gunshots, the convoy broke apart into two segments, with about 100 yards between them. From the rear of the ministerial police officers, an armored truck with grey side boards, with a sharpshooter riding in the back, drove towards the first group of police officers to finish them off. In fact, the vehicle drove around in circles until it was finished with the massacre. Then the armored truck went after the first convoy, but could not finish them off because they had taken cover behind the railroad tracks and on the roof of a nearby house on top of a hill, from where they were shooting.
The armored truck climbed up on the hill and drove around the house, with the gunmen shooting at the ministerial agents on the roof. However, the sharpshooter was hit by a shot from one of the police officers, and was killed instantly. Unexpectedly, the truck lost traction; it got stuck on a sand bank when the drive shaft broke off from the transmission and twisted the differential. Stuck, the occupants of the armored truck abandoned the vehicle and, believing they would get reinforcements, attacked the police agents and were killed.
After the shooting ended, the area was flooded with police officers and was closed to traffic.
State Attorney General Marco Antonio Higuera Gomez said that the criminal group planned the attack against the police for two days, and carried it out when [the police] were in its sights. However, local residents contradicted that statement and said that the clandestine armed groups have been operating there for months or years in control of the area and the attack could have been coincidental. Higuera Gomez did not reveal the reason for the attack, but asserted that it was carried out by armed groups in retaliation against police operations in the area.
After the attack, Francisco Cordova, Public Safety Secretary, said that State Ministerial Police will modify its mobilization strategy and incorporate it into its Intelligence section.
Governor Mario Lopez Valdez lamented the massacre of police officers and spoke about their response under attack. As a result of the ambush, the governor obtained permission from Sedena (Department of Defense) to augment the law enforcement firepower, permission that had been secured during the previous administration when they went from .30 cal. M-1 carbines to .223 cal. AR-15s, then to 7.62 cal. AK-47s, to the current 7.62 cal. G-3.
March 6, 2011: Ministerial police group ambushed in Guayparime, seven police officers killed.
May 26, 2011: Gunmen attack convoy of Policia Estatal Preventiva (PEP; State Preventive Police): one officer killed.
December 3, 2011: Two police officers are killed in an ambush In Los Mochis. Two patrol vehicles are destroyed in Colonia Texas.
July 7, 2011: The police escort of Francisco Cordova (Public Safety Department Secretary) is ambushed on (Mexico) Highway 15 and 19th Street. Ten police and a civilian are killed.
January 24, 2012: Two groups of gunmen attack police in Los Mochis, wounding three.
March 5, 2012: The Los Mochis Municipal Police building is attacked with hand grenades and heavy gunfire. There are no fatalities.
March 22, 2012: Five police officers are wounded in an ambush in Higuera de Zaragosa.
March 29, 2012, Hector Echavarria Islas, Choix Municipality Chief of Police, is attacked by gunfire. He dies the next day.
July 9, 2012: Seven ministerial police officers are killed in Tetamboca, El Fuerte.