RioDoce (May 13, 2013)
Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
First, they accused him of controlling and exploiting the drug vendors in Ahome, then they threatened to kill him and, finally, they carried out the attack. But Commander Carrasco came out unharmed...
Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, Guasave.- This part of Northern Sinaloa that, according to the government, had already been taken from the control of the the Guasave Cartel -- a minor affiliate of the Beltran Leyva Brothers Cartel -- via sporadic mosquito type operations (sting and fly), lived through a new skirmish between them and a law enforcement agency, in which they tried to kill Ahome's interim Municipal Police chief, Jesus Carrasco Ruiz; but he survived, thanks to his pickup's armor protection.
Carrasco Ruiz already knew that the guys from Guasave would try to kill him, because he had been warned through the web page Mochomera Mochis, now disappeared, as well as in posters left behind at three mass murders, which all took place last April.
The threats were signed by someone who identified himself as El Dos Letras (Two letters), who called himself the new plaza boss for the group La Mochomera, which took credit for displacing Los Mazatlecos, the clan which had for 36 months controlled, with fire and blood, the sale of drugs and the illegal activities in the northern part of Sinaloa, from Choix to Guasave.
Carrasco Ruiz, said the messages, would be murdered by La Mochomera because they considered him the leader of a police gang that sold drugs, recruiting dealers with promises of impunity, getting protection money (cobro de piso) from independent pushers and the distribution of drugs by lower rank police commanders who were loyal to the interim police chief. All this, they said, with the approval of Governor Mario Lopez Valdez and inaction by the mayor, Zenen Aaron Xochihua Enciso.
When he was asked about the threats, the chief of police laughed and said that after 18 years of service, he was used to them.
Hours after Thursday's attack was over, the preliminary result of the battle was three alleged criminals dead, one police officer killed, another one wounded and a civilian woman--collateral damage-- hurt, although not seriously, and fear among the local residents and terror among the travelers.
Reporters witnessed the capture of three men during the pursuit of the attackers, but neither the Attorney General nor the State Ministerial Police presented them (to the media).
The battle lasted a few minutes and used military-grade weapons, such as fragmentation grenades and large caliber rifles, armored vehicles and even a "monster", which are trucks equipped with home-made armor. This one had Corona beer logos.
According to reports at the scene, the attack took place at about 7:30 a.m. on Thursday in front of the town of Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, located at kilometer 176 plus 700 meters (mile marker 106) on the Mexico-Nogales highway, Los Mochis-Guasave section.
At that location, the Ahome interim chief of police and the El Fuerte police chief, Daniel Castro, as well as a 20 man police escort, consisting of ministerial police disguised as municipal and preventive police, were traveling in a convoy made up of an unmarked, armored white Ram pickup, a Tiger tactical vehicle and two patrol cars. "I was going to those fucking security meetings that everybody knows about", explained the police chief, "but I did not get there."
As they were passing by Cero Street, they started firing at them from their flanks. The suspects, who according to Carrasco Ruiz numbered more than 100, were riding on a beer truck, cars and pickups. During the initial attack, they killed Officer Julian Soto Dimas and seriously wounded another police officer, leaving the tactical vehicle and both patrol cars trapped by gunfire.
The Police Chief's driver got out of the combat zone, but when he returned to the area using the north-bound lane to get back into the fight, the armored pickup exploded and started to burn. The Chief and his personal bodyguard leaped onto the highway and joined the gunfight, while their vehicle burned.
"I don't know what hit us, it was a grenade or a bazooka round, but we got out. They got fucked again those sons of bitches, they got screwed, they couldn't do it," he explained, very annoyed.
"We pursued them about three kilometers (about two miles), but, since we had no backup, we turned back. Fucking cowards, they didn't want to fight, even though they had more weapons and cars than we did. They had Barrets, cuernos (AK-47s), grenades and even bazookas, but even then, they couldn't do it."
Carrasco Ruiz called Guasave police "pussies", because, despite being in the combat zone, they did not intervene nor provide support.
"Fucking shits, sell outs. Look, they were with the sicarios. Right beside the gas station, we saw them, and they didn't do anything, fucking pussies, dirty, corrupt cops."
Their colonel "isn't worth a shit", he should know who they are, and he should take care of them, he asked.
Miguel Espana, the Chief of Police in Guasave, denied Carrasco Ruiz's accusations and claimed that they did provide support, so much so, that it was they who transported the wounded to the hospital.
He (Espana) said they intervened because somebody reported the shootout, but that nobody told them it was the Ahome and El Fuerte police chiefs who were being attacked. "We didn't know they were coming through here, had they communicated this to us, we would have given them the necessary backup."
After the shooting, pursuit of the fleeing gunmen went in different directions. Two helicopters and a small plane joined the search. This is how, in the fishing camp known as El Coloradito, some 20 km (12 miles) east of the attack location, and some three miles north of El Hitussi, the pursuers found a wine-color Jeep Liberty SUV with Mexico State license plates, whose armed passengers were trying to escape using fishing boats.
They were caught on the jetty and killed in the exchange of gunfire. The civilians were carrying two AK-47s and fragmentation grenades. Two of these grenades were found on the dry dock.
Due to the gunshots, students from the Juan Escutia Primary School were evacuated. The school is located on an open space less than 100 yards from where the gunfight took place.
Fishermen who arrived with their daily catch were tortured by police agents wearing face masks to make them admit they were part of the gang of gunmen. When they were unable to force their confessions, because the fishermen had in-laws on the Guasave city council, the police torturers withdrew, but not before they warned them that they would return and take reprisals if (the fishermen) filed criminal complaints.
The jetty, where the shooting took place, was altered by the policemen wearing face masks. In addition, the director of the State Ministerial Police, Jesus Antonio Aguilar Iniguez (Chuytono), ordered his subordinates to alter the scene where the gunmen were killed and to take photographs so they could brag about them.
The masked policemen, mostly Ahome police officers, harassed the reporters. In addition, believing themselves superior to the Guasave police, who were on their home ground, they ordered them around. The Guasave residents just ignored them, to avoid a bigger altercation.
At the same time this was happening in El Coloradito, on the strip opposite the International Highway another group was attacking ranch houses and beating up the laborers. Reporters observed the arrest of at least one person in Campo Borquez, but no agency or public safety institution took credit for it.
The operations reached El Burrion, Tamazula, Batamonte and La Brecha, territory presumably under the control of Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, El Chapo Isidro, and the two brothers, Jesus and Ignacio Gonzalez.
During the search operation for the attackers of the police, a Ford F350 Super Duty pickup, with an AK-47 rifle, an AR-15 and a grenade in the back, was abandoned on Calle Cero and 100 Street. In addition, a Chevrolet Cheyenne pickup, and, later that afternoon in La Brecha, the armored truck and a white Toyota Tundra pickup were located.
The mayor of Ahome once again stated that public safety criteria need to be modified. He said that, for an attack to have been carried out against his Chief of Police, "there must have been internal leaks."
Until this edition went to press, the three individuals killed in the gunfight had not been identified. At the scene of the conflict, the Chief of the State Ministerial Police vowed that the persons who attacked the Police would be caught quickly.
"Give me a little time and I will show them to you."
An Italian in the war zone
Mauro Talini, a diabetic Italian bicyclist who has undertaken a pedaling crusade from Argentina to Alaska to increase awareness among the public and among governments of the risks of this disease, went through the war zone that this part of Sinaloa had become without noticing anything.
He was so focused on finishing the Los Mochis portion of the trip that he did not notice that he was pedaling on a highway that had recently been under fire.
He didn't notice the burned patrol vehicle, nor the dozen police officers who were armed to the teeth, nor the blood stains nor the collective hysteria among the residents.
He just kept pedaling, pedaling, to the rhythm of a motorcycle, to get out of Sinaloa as fast as possible. He didn't care about the violence, only about his crusade against diabetes, which he knows is "a very big problem" in Mexico. [Translator's note: A few days ago, news media in Mexico reported that Mauro Talini, the Italian cyclist mentioned here, was run over by a tractor trailer on the highway and killed.-- un vato]