By Chris Covert
Separate operations in Gomez Palacio, Durango and in Torreon, Coahuila led to the arrest of four suspects, freeing three kidnapping victims and the seizure of several classes of munitions including explosives, according to Mexican news reports.
The news is the first news of successful countercrime operations since the start of the newly dubbed Operativo Laguna last week, a joint security operation now commanded and coordinated by the Mexican XI Military Region based in Torreon, Coahuila. La Laguna is similar to a twin cities area which incorporates several municipalities including Torreon and Matamoros in Coahuila state and Ciudad Lerdo and Gomez Palacio, in Durango state.
According to a news dispatch posted on the website of yancuic.com news daily, an operation by the Mexican Army and Durango state Direccion Estatal de Investigacion (DEI), Policia Federal and Policia Estatal Acreditable (PEA) in Gomez Palacio yielded guns, ammunition and explosives.
The raid took place on calle 16 de Septiembre in Bella Vista colony near Zona Centro where security elements were dispatched to investigate the presence of men acting suspiciously.
The suspects had fled the scene escaping detention. Security forces seized two fragmentation grenades, 6 sausage shaped explosives (probably Tovex), 88 detonators, a roll of white wick,, 50 rounds of 7.62x63 (.30 06 caliber) ammunition, 18 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, undisclosed amount and type of spent cartridge casings and two banners with undisclosed messages to the authorities.
It is worth noting that Tovex was the type of explosive used in the July 16th, 2010 Ciudad Juarez car bomb which killed three, and was probably been used in last summer's car bomb in Neuvo Laredo in Tamaulipas. Tovex is a commercial grade explosive typically used in Mexico in mining. The Mexican state petroleum enterprise PEMEX is known to use Tovex.
Meanwhile in Torreon Coahuila, a kidnapping operation was dismantled by Torreon municipal police agents yielding a number of seized munitions.
According to a separate report posted on the website of yancuic.com, a municipal patrol element observed an armed suspect with a rifle in Sol de Oriente colony, who then fled inside a residence. A brief pursuit led to the arrest of four individuals.
The detainees were identified as Ismael Hernandez Ruiz, 37, AKA El Enano, of Matamoros, Coahuila, Edgar Castro Rogelio Menchaca, 20, AKA The Pump, of Torreon, Coahuila, Monica Elizabeth Esparza Castro AKA La Negra, 25, of Torreon, Cahuila and Alfredo Domínguez Alanis, 40, of Torreon, Coahuila, and identified as the alleged leader.
Inside the residence police found and released three unidentified kidnapping victims.
Police also seized two AK-47 rifles, one AK-74 rifle, one AR-15 automatic rifle, one AR-15 5.56mm rifle, one 12 gauge double barrel shotgun, 30 weapons magazines, 1,252 rounds of ammunition (.223 caliber, 7.62mm, .32 caliber, .38 Special, .22 caliber and 9mm), two bulletproof vests, 11 Kenwood brand portable radios, five pairs of tactical boots, one sniper scope and one pair of handcuffs.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com