Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mexican Army to reinforce sierras in Chihuahua, Sonora and Sinaloa

By Chris Covert
Rantburg.com

The Mexican Army is preparing to reinforce operations in a three state area in reaction to increased violence in the region, according to Mexican news reports.


Gen. Zepeda Cienfuegos
In a news account which appeared in the online edition of El Diario de Coahuila news daily, Mexico's top soldier, Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) General Salvador Zepeda Cienfuegos told reporters that due to increasing violence from competing drug gangs in the mountains of Chihuahua, Sonora and Sinaloa state, colloquially known as Triangulo Dorado or Golden Triangle, Mexican Army forces already present in the region are to be augmented.

Th region is known by that moniker because it is used by nearly all the drug cartels for the cultivation and production of drugs.

The region includes the areas of operations of the Mexican 9th and 10 Military Zones.  Earlier in the year the 10th Military Zone had been conducting limited security operations in Durango state seizing drugs and guns.

An increase in violence has been reported recently in Sinaloa state as well as in Chihuahua state.  The latest violence in Chihuahua took place in Guadaluoe y Calvo municipality where two accused extortionists were captured following a gunfight with Chihuahua state ministerial agents.

Manuel Antonio Montes Hernandez, 32, and Adan Ruiz Montes, 23, were wounded in the encounter and were detained by police, but a third unidentified suspect escaped capture.

Also, Mexican Army and Naval Infantry have been seen in some strength in the municipality following the June murder of Jaime Orozco Madriga, a Partido Revolucionario Institucional candidate for municipal president of Guadalupe y Calvo.  A number of shootings and shootouts have taken place as well.

General Zepeda Cienfuegos' announcement Thursday follows a more stunning announcement last month in Sinaloa when he suggested that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's plan to return Mexico's military forces to the barracks would be delayed because of the sudden increase of drug gang violence in the region.

When asked about plans for military forces in the region, General Zepeda Cienfuegos said: "Se mantienen en las calles... ( They will remain in the streets)," according to a news account which appeared in the online edition of El Debate.

Also in a separate account of that June meeting, according to El Debate, General Zepeda Cienfuegos met with local politicians and with commander of the Mexican 3rd Military Zone, General Moses Melo Garcia in Los Mochis in Sinaloa.  General Melo Garcia told the reporter that unspecified incidents in Ahome municipality had forced SEDENA to modify force deployment in the region.  The general did not elaborate.

However, the general was probably referring to a series of drug related murders in Sinaloa state last April and May including nine dead found in two incidents as well as the murder of former Ahome police commander Nicolas Galaviz Vasquez.

General Zepeda Cienfuegos' announcement is not the first time Mexico's federal security officials have reversed themselves in the face of changing conditions.  The La Laguna region is a good example, where initially Mexican Army troops had been rotated out of the region in the first of the year only later to be redeploying in a substantially more intense role that before.

La Laguna is a region that includes municipalities in western Coahuila and eastern Durango states.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for rantburg.com and Borderlandbeat.com  He can be reached at grurkka@gmail.com